Senator Bob Day and the Coalition: Putting families last

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The Turnbull Government accepting the vote of bankrupt building contractor, Bob Day, on the ABCC Bill, is not only ironic but an affront to the families caught up in the scandal, writes Peter Wicks.

IT WAS FAMILIES LAST earlier this month when families were finally informed that the “Great Australian Dream” was for them turning into a nightmare of epic proportions, at the hands of a senator for the ironically named Family First party.

Family First Senator Bob Day announced that he would be resigning as Senator as his group of companies Home Australia Group goes into liquidation.

Day, it is expected, will soon be forced to declare bankruptcy.

This leaves hundreds of families facing peril as they have placed their hopes, dreams and, critically, their finances into something that has suddenly been pulled away from under them.

One hopes that the banks and financial institutions dealing with these poor families will do the right thing for, as we have seen, the Turnbull Government has no intention of holding them to account for previous failures, rorts and scandals.

Speculation is rife that Bob Day’s construction group of companies has been trading while insolvent for several years. The fact that Day was waiting for a huge cash injection from a foreign entity, Philippines based Goshen Capital Resources, only reinforces that speculation.

I approached Senator Day for comment on allegations of insolvent trading but he is yet to respond.

Trading insolvent is not only immoral, it is highly illegal. Repercussions include civil penalties, compensation proceedings and criminal charges. 

ASIC also cite as a possibility the following:

'... a director may also be subject to criminal charges (which can lead to a fine of up to $220,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both). Being found guilty of the criminal offence of insolvent trading will also lead to a director’s disqualification.'

While all of this may not help the victims of Day’s business practices, it may be of some comfort to know he will not be part of the Senate any longer.

Channel Ten report Bob Day's remaining in the Senate despite pending bunkruptcy.

However, Day has not officially resigned from the Senate as yet, he is holding off to vote on the Coalition's ABCC legislation that seeks to attack the union movement — in particular the construction unions.

The Coalition assure us there are criminal elements involved in the construction industry. They want, it would seem, one of those alleged criminals to have a vote in the Senate before being forced out.

The fact that a failed building contractor turned senator is clinging on to vote against a union that protects working families like the ones he has left heartbroken and facing financial ruin is a badge of shame the Coalition seem to wear with pride.

The Coalition accepting the vote of Senator Day, whose eligibility to vote is under an enormous cloud of doubt, should make people's blood boil. Certainly, the families caught up in this crisis will feel as if they are being kicked in the guts by the Turnbull Government.

In the eyes of most, Bob Day, as a failed building contractor, has a conflict of interest regarding this bill. However, while those poor families involved face financial crisis and most people see a conflict of interest, the Coalition see a free kick.

Bob Day has always been a key backer of the Liberal Party. He has supported almost all their legislation and viewpoints, and was a member of the Liberal Party before joining Family First.

Like Pauline Hanson, Bob Day failed in his bid to be preselected as a Liberal candidate. Pauline and Bob are the fish that John West rejected. Fortunately for them, Pauline ran a fish shop and went it alone and Bob had a lot of money he could donate to Family First from his construction group, that is now in liquidation.

In light of recent events, Bob Day should not only be disqualified from voting but should he be found guilty of insolvent trading, any legislation passed via his vote could also be deemed invalid. If legislation has passed due to the vote of a senator who was ineligible to be in the Senate then things could become quite interesting. Legislation passed or voted down by one vote would then go under the microscope.

For a party that has carried on like children in the past about “tainted votes” over unproven allegations, surely one would think that they cannot accept the vote of soon to be ex-Senator Day, over admitted and proven facts related to his financial affairs in the construction industry.

However, there is little doubt they will accept Bob Day's vote. It is expected the Coalition Government will once again show it will happily take any political advantage it can muster — despite it being at the expense of young families left shattered and then hung out to dry. It matters not to Turnbull and his party whether those families are in Sydney, Melbourne or Nauru.

Once again for the Coalition it would seem it’s families last.

Peter Wicks is a former NSW State Labor candidate. You can follow Peter Wicks on Twitter @madwixxy.

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