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"Like-minded people have a way of coming together": Day coy on Bernardi venture

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Former Family First senator and fallen building magnate Bob Day has not ruled out a personal involvement in Cory Bernardi’s new “venture”, telling InDaily: “We’ll see what happens.”

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Day, who was forced to quit parliament late last year after the collapse of his Home Australia property group, is a long-time friend and ideological soulmate of the South Australian firebrand senator, who today confirmed he was quitting the Liberal Party to form his own conservative movement.

Day has been a collaborator with Bernardi through his right-wing hub, the Bert Kelly Research Centre, which he tells InDaily “I’m still running out of [Bernardi’s] Australian Conservatives office” in Kent Town.

“So I still have close involvement with him,” he said.

Like Bernardi, Day is a former Liberal member who quit the party, having previously run as a candidate for Makin and missed out on preselection for Mayo.

Asked whether he therefore endorsed the move to more conservative political ground, Day said: “Cory’s his own man [so] it’s not for me to endorse or otherwise, but I can certainly understand what he’s done.”

Day was cryptic about whether he would continue to collaborate with Bernardi on his new venture, but conceded that “like-minded people have a way of coming together with projects and so on”.

“That’s the way the world works – like-minded people get together and pursue causes they believe in… [they] form societies and political parties and that often translates into public policy and public support,” he said.

As to whether he would be involved in the formulation of public policy with Bernardi, Day said: “We’ll see.”

“We’ll see what happens, but I’ll let him do the talking about his venture,” he said.

Family First state leader Dennis Hood told InDaily Day had quit that party’s executive and he understood he had also handed in his membership, but he believed there was unlikely to be a formal arrangement between the former senator and Bernardi.

Asked whether Family First had anything to fear politically from a new conservative political force, Hood said: “Family First have a similar world-view to Senator Bernardi and we’d aim to support him in his venture.”

“With respect to any encroachment on what’s traditionally been Family First ground, we’re always supportive of other conservative voices and that includes Senator Bernardi,” he said.

High Court wrangling over Day’s former seat continues today, with lawyers for Attorney-General George Brandis arguing the South Australian seat should be filled by a special count.

The court must determine whether Day had a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a lease agreement between the owner of his electorate office premises, Fullarton Investments, and the Federal Government.

Under the constitution, such an arrangement would disqualify him from sitting in parliament.

If he is found to have been disqualified a recount would be needed, but if he wins, Family First would fill the casual vacancy caused by his resignation.

-with AAP

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