South Australian Senator Bob Day could be about to pack up his office if he is not returned by South Australians at the election, but he won’t have to move too far if he goes back to his old job. The Family First Senator caused quite a stir in the Department of Finance when he was first elected, when he demanded that the Family First Kent Town offices, which he owned until shortly before his term began, become his new electorate office. Emails and letters released by the Department of Finance under freedom of information show that Day objected to taking over the offices of former senator Don Farrell because of a longer commute, and opined the Gilles Street, Adelaide, premises were “difficult to find … the office has no presence”. He also had a dig at Farrell, saying “I can understand why Senator Farrell may wish to have an office close to South Terrace in order to be near his Party colleagues, but this would not suit my needs for a number of reasons”.
Over January and February in 2014, Finance officials negotiated with Day that he would keep the Gilles Street offices until the end of the lease there, to reduce costs to the department. But by October of the same year, former special minister of state Michael Ronaldson agreed that the new senator could base his offices at Kent Town until June 2020, with the department not paying any rent until August this year or until the department subleased the Gilles Street office. Day describes the Kent Town premises, by the way, as the “conservative hub of Adelaide” — Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi used the studio onsite to produce his Cory Bernardi TV.