The contribution of Bob Day to the Australian community extends far beyond his former business interests and parliamentary roles. His strong interest in local communities, youth employment, housing, urban planning, personal freedoms, federalism, and workplace relations has been reflected in a wide range of appointments including:
- National President of the Housing Industry Association.
- Founder and Inaugural President of Independent Contractors of Australia.
- Director of The Centre for Independent Studies.
- Chairman of North East Vocational College.
On Australia Day 2003 Bob was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to the housing industry, to social welfare – particularly housing the homeless – and to the community. Later that same year he was awarded the Centenary of Federation medal for service to housing and charity.
A qualified Science Technician with the SA Highways Department, Bob left the public service in 1975 to start a plumbing and housing business. Over the ensuing 40 years Bob grew the company into a successful national housing group until 2016 when an ill-fated acquisition brought about the demise of the company and he was forced to file for bankruptcy.
‘We’ve all been shot!’
There’s a scene in the movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ where the sergeant yells to one of his soldiers, ‘Get in the truck and drive!’ ‘But I’ve been shot’, the soldier replies. ‘We’ve all been shot, now get in and drive’.
Bad things happen to everyone. Some have been shot by cancer, others by the loss of a child, or by an addiction, or a moral failure, or being accused – or worse, convicted – of a crime you didn’t commit or by a relationship breakdown. I’m no different, except for me it was very public.
In my case it was a business failure. I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. I’d bitten off more than I could chew and paid the price.
But you can’t let your past mistakes define you. You have to get back in the truck and drive.
Following a 20-year membership of the Liberal Party – including as the candidate for the Federal seat of Makin in 2007 – Bob joined the Family First Party in 2008 and was elected Chairman in 2009. In 2013 he was elected as a Senator representing the State of South Australia in the Federal Parliament.
In July 2016 he was re-elected but resigned shortly afterwards following the collapse of his housing company. His 2016 election was subsequently overturned following a High Court ruling that arrangements over his electorate office had breached the Constitution. [See High Court Ruling.]
In October 2020, Bob launched the Australian Family Party.