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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 1951


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (15:04): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by ministers to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today relating to former Senator Day's electorate office.

I refer back to 2013, when Senator Bob Day replaced me in the Senate. As all senators will know, because all senators will have had this experience, the practice—at that time and now—is that the incoming senator takes over the office of the outgoing senator.

Senator Cormann interjecting

Senator FARRELL: Well, it is the practice. You might be able to point to some people who have not done it, but—

Senator Cormann: Including on your side.

Senator FARRELL: The practice is—

Senator Cormann interjecting

Senator FARRELL: That is the practice. I do not say that it is universal, but that is the practice. Why is that the practice? The reason that that is the practice is that it saves money for the taxpayer, and we are always looking to save taxpayers' money in this place. The question is: why did that usual practice not apply in this case? I do not know the exact answer to that, but I have read a few statements by Senator Day as to why he did not move into the perfectly reasonable offices that I had in Gilles Street in Adelaide. He questioned the transport arrangements. I am not sure how familiar you are with Adelaide, Deputy President. It is a wonderful city full of modern transport options, and one of those modern transport options is the new tram that now goes all the way from Glenelg down to the entertainment centre. One of the reasons that I selected this particular office was that it is only a couple of minutes walk from the tram. The interesting thing about the tram in Adelaide is that, if you catch it in the—

Senator Brandis: Have you got a tram?

Senator FARRELL: Yes, we have a tram, Senator Brandis, and it is a beautiful tram. In fact, if Senator Gallagher were here we could talk about trams in the ACT. But the significant thing about this tram is that, if you catch it in the CBD, it is free. So you can catch that tram to anywhere else you might like to go. You can catch it down to the train station and you can catch it to any of the bus connections on any of the through-streets in Adelaide. And it is a couple of minutes walk from my office, and that is why we selected this particular place—because it was easy, for people who might want to come and visit their senator with a particular problem, to get into town and get to the office.

I have had a look—not a close look, but a look—at the office that Senator Day moved into on Fullarton Road. To the best of my knowledge, Senator Sterle, there are no buses, no trams and no trains running along Fullarton Road. I could be wrong about that; there may be one. But, to the best of my knowledge, there are no trams, trains or buses running along the road to Senator Day's current office.

So the question mark that I would raise is this. There was a perfectly good office in the Adelaide CBD that had two years to run on the lease. Obviously the department was more confident about my likely re-election in the 2013 elections than the people of South Australia were. So there were two years to run on that lease. It was perfectly possible for Senator Day to move in there. Why didn't he? That is the sixty-four dollar question: why didn't he?

Senator Sterle: Because he votes with them every time.

Senator FARRELL: Well, Senator Sterle, I think you might have nailed it. I think you have nailed it, Senator, because this was the opportunity. We saw guns for votes a couple of weeks ago, and now we see offices for votes. Senator Sterle has hit the nail on the head. What we saw here was offices for votes. (Time expired)