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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 1932

Day, Mr Bob, AO


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:00): My question is to the Special Minister of State, Senator Ryan. In a briefing dated 24 February 2014 from the Department of Finance to the then Special Minister of State it is recommended, 'That you agree to not approve the establishment of a new electorate office for Senator elect Day.' Can the minister confirm that the then Special Minister of State ignored this advice from his department?


Senator RYAN (VictoriaSpecial Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary) (14:00): I thank Senator Farrell for his question. Senator Farrell will understand that I was not in the position at that time, having been sworn to the office on 18 July this year. I refer Senator Farrell to the statements made by myself and Senator Cormann in the chamber earlier this afternoon. I understand that that briefing preceded the decision of the then Special Minister of State to agree to the location of then Senator Day's office with certain conditions attached, which were outlined by Senator Cormann and by myself.


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:01): I have a further question of the minister. I refer to a briefing dated 10 June 2014 from the Department of Finance to the then Special Minister of State, which recommended, 'That you agree that Senator elect Day occupy level 5, 19 Gilles Street Adelaide'—a very nice office by the way—'from 1 July 2014 until arrangements for his electorate office are finalised.' Can the minister confirm that the then Special Minister of State ignored this advice from his department?


Senator RYAN (VictoriaSpecial Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary) (14:02): Thank you, Senator Farrell, for the question—

Senator Sterle interjecting

Senator RYAN: I will leave that to you, Senator Sterle. Senator Farrell, I understand that office was vacant following your defeat at the 2013 election. As Senator Cormann outlined to the chamber, and there are extensive examples of this, special ministers of state seek to accommodate the wishes and desires of members of parliament in seeking to locate their offices.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, on my left.

Senator RYAN: Senator Farrell, I refer you, again, to my statement earlier today, where I outlined that then Senator Day did not— (Time expired).





Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:03): I ask a further supplementary question. On how many other occasions did ministers ignore departmental advice in responding to Senator Day's request to establish his electoral office in a building he owned?


Senator RYAN (VictoriaSpecial Minister of State and Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary) (14:04): To be fair, I do not think that is a fair way to characterise the circumstances. I outlined to the chamber earlier today the extent of the steps which the government took to make inquiries into this matter following it being brought to my attention, after I was sworn in as Special Minister of State, by Senator Day. I will state again: I think the government's steps that have been taken, and outlined by both Senator Cormann and myself, demonstrate our bona fides in dealing with this very important matter.