FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has doubled down on her criticism of Labor's role in Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's dual citizenship debacle, questioning whether Senator Penny Wong is fit for office after it emerged Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman's chief of staff raised the issue with NZ Labour.
However, Senator Wong's frontbench colleague Anthony Albanese backtracked after contradicting earlier statements from Labor that Mr Joyce had never been specifically referred to in those discussions.
In the third day of parliamentary acrimony over Mr Joyce's citizenship, Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek described Ms Bishop's attack on the staffer as a "hysterical overreach".
But New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English said it was an understandable reaction "given the seriousness of a one-vote majority government looking at the possibility of their member of parliament being ejected from parliament".
The High Court will hear the question of Mr Joyce's citizenship along with other parliamentarians next Thursday.