The move is a significant departure from his earlier claim that he would see out the year, arguing there was insufficient time to organise a replacement and “marriage plebiscite legislation, ABCC and our other work [is] too important to Family First to have a vacant seat for even one day in November”.
Day said in a statement last week he might reconsider his resignation altogether, with a potential white knight in the wings to bail out his troubled Home Australia Group, which folded last month leaving more than 200 homes still under construction nationwide.
But today he conceded that “while a number of offers for various parts of the Home Australia business have been received, the major investor who has been examining the Group’s portfolio of assets over the past fortnight has decided not to proceed”.
“Accordingly, I have today tendered my resignation to the President of the Senate effective immediately,” he said in a statement.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as a senator for South Australia and I am sorry it has ended this way.
“I will now devote my time and energy to assisting those who have been affected by the company’s closure.”
The statement was sent by longtime Family First advisor Rikki Lambert, who noted in the email that Day would make no further statements and that “it would now be accurate to describe me as the senator’s former chief of staff”.
“I confirm that I am a candidate for the now vacant Senate position,” Lambert added.
“I am not making public comment on the pre-selection process at this time.”
SA Legislative Councillor Robert Brokenshire and Day’s former running mate Lucy Gichuhi have also signalled their intent to contest the vacancy, with state executive chairman Dennis Hood reconfirming there were “eight to 10” prospective candidates all up.
Hood told InDaily he anticipated the process – which will now effectively begin afresh – would take “two to three weeks at the outside” to sort through, “which would probably be one sitting week of the federal parliament”.
“Obviously, we’ll move as quickly as we possibly can,” he said.
Despite Day evidently abandoning his earlier pledge to hang on until year’s end to facilitate a glut of Government business, Hood said “there was no encouragement from the party [for him] to move sooner”.
Marriage plebiscite legislation, ABCC and our other work too important to Family First to have a vacant seat for even 1 day in November.
— Bob Day (@senatorbobday) October 25, 2016
“We wanted to be fair to Bob and give him every opportunity to sort out his business problems; that hasn’t eventuated,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate for everyone, but Bob Day’s businesses had nothing whatsoever to do with the Family First party.
“The decision has now been made – we move on.”
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