South Australian senator Bob Day has resigned from parliament, effective immediately, in the wake of the collapse of his building business.
The Family First senator, who first flagged resigning a fortnight ago after the business went into administration, appeared to change his mind last week saying there wasn’t time to find a replacement and that legislation coming before the senate this month was “too important to Family First to have a vacant seat for even one day in November”.
But the failure to find a buyer for his company, Home Australia group, which was handed over to liquidator McGrathNicol last month, leaving 200 homes in five states unfinished, has brought another change of heart.
Senator Day has just issued the following statement:
While a number of offers for various parts of the Home Australia business have been received, the major investor who has been examining the Group’s portfolio of assets over the past fortnight has decided not to proceed.
Accordingly, I have today tendered my resignation to the President of the Senate effective immediately.
It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as a Senator for South Australia and I am sorry it has ended this way.
I will now devote my time and energy to assisting those who have been affected by the company’s closure.
— Bob Day (@senatorbobday) November 1, 2016
Day has said he will lose his family home because he had signed personal guarantees for his business, and the liabilities exceed assets. He faced expulsion from parliament if he was declared bankrupt.
Day was the 12th and last senator elected in South Australia. His replacement will have to be endorsed by the South Australian parliament and last week premier Jay Weatherill said the state parliament could meet next Thursday to replace him. However, there has been talk of a power struggle within Family First, including speculation that Day wanted to stay on to block state-based MP Robert Brokenshire moving into federal politics. Day’s preferred replacement is his former chief of staff, Rikki Lambert.
Senator Day was a strong crossbench supporter of the Turnbull government’s legislative agenda.
A crowdfunding campaign set up two weeks ago in support of Day has so far raised nearly $32,000 towards its $100,000 target. At the senator’s request, the money will go to subcontractors owed money following the collapse of Home Australia and its subsidiaries, which include Huxley Homes in NSW, Ashford Homes in Victoria, Newstart Homes in Queensland, Homestead Homes in South Australia and Collier Homes in WA.
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