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Anti-Semitism Claims Disrupt Potential Frydenberg Section 44 Challenge

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg appears likely to avoid a High Court challenge to his eligibility to sit in Parliament, after his potential challengers feared they would be “branded as anti-Semitic.”

As exclusively reported on 10 News First on Tuesday, a Melbourne lawyer has prepared an extensive brief claiming Frydenberg is ineligible to sit in Parliament under Section 44(i) of the Constitution, claiming the treasurer he is a Hungarian citizen.

Lawyer Trevor Poulton claims Frydenberg has been treated as a special case.

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“He is a Hungarian citizen and that is based on the fact that his mother was a Hungarian citizen,” Poulton told 10 News First.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Image: AAP.

Poulton said he was “briefing certain constituents in Kooyong” to file a High Court challenge to the Treasurer’s election. The deadline for so-called “disputed returns” actions expires on July 31.

That now appears in doubt.

As 10 News First reported, Poulton is the author of a novel called 'The Holocaust Denier' in which the main character sees through the “myth” of the Holocaust before identifying himself as a National Socialist, or Nazi.

Lawyer Trevor Poulton. Photo: 10 News First

Poulton says the book was fiction and he is not a Holocaust denier. However, he has also written that Australians who have been derided as neo-Nazis should instead be called “neo-Aussies” because their goal is “sustaining a predominantly white European population.”

Such views appear now to have scared off potential signatories to the High Court action.

“It has made a lot of people nervous,” one said.

“They worried they’re going to be branded as anti-Semitic and all sorts of things.”

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Poulton does not live in Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong, and thus under the law, cannot bring the action himself. Without an elector signing up to the High Court petition before July 31, the action will lapse.

Frydenberg’s mother was born in Budapest in 1943. Up to 75 percent of Hungarian Jews were murdered under the Nazis. In 2017, then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made an empassioned defence of his senior minister saying Frydenberg’s mother, Erika Strausz, was “born stateless.”

Photo: AAP.

Frydenberg claimed he has legal advice from both Hungary and Australia that he is not in breach of the constitutional ban on dual citizens. He has not released that advice.

But in April, in an updated declaration to the Australian Electoral Commission, Frydenberg clarified his family’s position. He confirmed his mother was a Hungarian citizen at birth and remained so until 1948 when the family began the journey that led them to Australia.

Another political candidate descended from Hungarian Jews, Tim Hollo, found he had inherited Hungarian citizenship even though he had never applied for it.

It took 14 months to gain a renunciation certificate. Frydenberg has produced no such certificate.