Former Senator Bob Day
Former Senator Bob Day

Former senator won't have to pay back government debt

FORMER Family First Senator Bob Day will not have to pay back any of his salary, allowances or staff payments to the Federal Government after it decided to waive the debt.

The government pursued Mr Day for the payments after the High Court found in April this year that he wasn't eligible to sit as a senator.

Mr Day was declared to be ineligible for election after the High Court ruled he had breached the Constitution when the Commonwealth leased an office in a building Mr Day owned. The lease was for his own electorate office.

Under Section 44 of the Constitution, candidates for Parliament can't have a direct or indirect financial interest in an agreement with the Commonwealth.

The High Court found Mr Day was ineligible since at least February 2016, when the Commonwealth was directed by Fullarton Investments to pay rent into a bank account owned by Mr Day.

"Following that decision, officials in the Department of the Senate and Department of Finance wrote to Mr Day notifying him they would be required to pursue a debt owed for salaries, allowances, superannuation and staff payments," Senator Scott Ryan said.

Senator Ryan, who is the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet, issued a statement on Thursday announcing the department would waive Mr Day's debt.

"Mr Day wrote to me on May 20, 2017 requesting a waiver of debts he owed to the Department of the Senate and the Department of Finance," he said.

"Taking advice from officials in the Department of Finance I have agreed to waive Mr Day's debts to the Department of the Senate and Department of Finance. The waiver of this debt is consistent with the outcome in previous similar cases."

Mr Day resigned from the Senate in October 2016 after his construction company Home Australia appointed liquidators.  

Mr Day's salary and superannuation during the time he was ineligible to sit as a senator was previously estimated to be close to $130,000. Other costs are also included in the debt. 

Rod Culleton, a former Western Australia Senator, can also request to have his debt waived.

Mr Culleton was elected alongside Mr Day in July 2016. In February 2017, the High Court ruled him ineligible for election over a criminal conviction that was later annulled.