Former South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day’s election was invalid in last year’s Federal Election, according to a decision handed down by the High Court on Wednesday, 5 April.
The validity of his election was called into question in 2016, after concerns were raised about the leasing arrangement for his electorate office in Kent Town in Adelaide’s east.
Under the Constitution, an individual is prevented from sitting in Parliament if they have a direct or indirect financial interest in any agreement with the Commonwealth.
The High Court has ordered a special recount of the SA ballot papers to determine Day’s replacement.
The High Court found that Day had been ineligible to sit in the Senate since at least February 2016 because, as a Senator, he leased his office from a company he had an interest in. The High Court also found such arrangements broke Section 44 of the Constitution.
“It is times like this that you really know how important it is to have a really strong faith,” former Senator Bob Day told Eternity. “God is in control. He is Sovereign. I accept what has happened.
“Being human I am naturally disappointed.”
Because his election has been ruled invalid, his seat will not go to another Family First candidate. The High Court has ordered a special recount of the South Australian ballot papers to determine Day’s replacement.
“I trust that Family First will retain the Seat on a recount, and that it will pass to my running mate Lucy Gichuhi who I was pleased to appoint,” said Day.
Senator Day was elected to the Senate in 2013, running as a Family First candidate. He was re-elected for a further three year term at the July 2 election this year. He was the only senator in the current parliament who represented a “Christian Values party”.
Senator Day expressed deep sorrow over what happened with the business.
In October 2016, Day resigned his position in the Senate following the liquidation of his building company Home Australia. According to the rules of the Senate, a bankrupt person cannot remain a member of parliament.
In a statement at the time, Senator Day expressed deep sorrow over what happened with the business. He even noted that he would lose his family home as a result of the business collapse.
“Having been in business for over 40 years, I am naturally devastated by what has happened and will do whatever I can now to assist those affected by this closure,” Day said.
“As I have always agreed to sign personal guarantees to creditors, this closure also has serious implications for me and my family.
“Creditor liabilities greatly exceed our assets so we will also lose our family home.
“As for my role as a Senator, I will of course resign.”