Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 1934

Day, Mr Bob, AO


Senator GALLAGHER (Australian Capital TerritoryManager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (14:09): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. When did the minister first become aware of discussions regarding the establishment of a new electorate office for Senator Day in his building at 77 Fullarton Road, Kent Town?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:09): I thank Senator Gallagher for that question. I answered that question explicitly in my statement to the Senate earlier today. The 29 December letter—and I am quoting directly from my statement—by then senator Bob Day by email to me in relation to arrangements related to his Fullarton Road electorate office was the first time, I believe, I became aware of the arrangements put in place in relation to then Senator Day's electorate office.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Minister. Senator Gallagher, a supplementary question?



Senator GALLAGHER (Australian Capital TerritoryManager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (14:10): On becoming Special Minister of State on 29 December 2015, what was the minister's knowledge of the negotiations with former Senator Day regarding the establishment of his electorate office in a building he once owned?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:10): I could refer Senator Gallagher to the very comprehensive statement I made to the Senate earlier, which directly deals with these matters. What I will say is this: the first time I became aware of any arrangements in relation to then Senator Day's electorate office was as a result of the letter that he sent to me by email on 29 December 2015, a few hours after I had been appointed as the Acting Special Minister of State. Obviously, as a result of that letter I made it my business to find out what the situation was and I was advised of the arrangements, which are as I have laid out in my very comprehensive statement.

Let me make very clear that former Senator Ronaldson, the then Special Minister of State, appropriately acted on the advice provided to him by the Department of Finance by imposing certain conditions on then Senator Day. Let me make the final point that Senator Day is not Robinson Crusoe when it comes to expressing concern about departmental preference for the location of his electorate office. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Gallagher, a final supplementary question?



Senator GALLAGHER (Australian Capital TerritoryManager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (14:11): Given that the minister has at all material times been the senior minister in the Finance portfolio and was himself the Special Minister of State for over six months, between 29 December 2015 and 19 July 2016, why, Minister, did you permit the government to agree to Senator Day's request, contrary to the advice of your own department?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:12): The assumption underpinning that question is false. At the time when the heads of agreement in February 2015was executed, at the time when the lease on 1 December 2015 was executed, the Department of Finance had no concerns in relation to the ownership status of the 77 Fullarton Road property—no concerns whatsoever. Indeed, as late as 18 February 2016 my department, the Department of Finance, advised me that it was open to me—this is also covered in my very comprehensive statement—to pay rent in relation to this office from 1 March 2016 onwards. The senator, with all due respect, is seeking to quote out of context advice in 2014 which was no longer relevant later in 2015.

Again, let me say that then Senator Day was not Robinson Crusoe when it came to expressing concerns about departmental preferences— (Time expired)