Former senator Rod Culleton says he will take a “self-imposed” moratorium from his job, after he lost his spot in the upper house following a bankruptcy case against him, but says he will stay in his electorate office.
Senate president Stephen Parry wrote to the WA Governor last week saying there was a vacancy in the Senate left by Mr Culleton’s departure.
Mr Culleton has previously denied he is insolvent, saying he will appeal a Federal Court decision from December, which triggered a rule in the constitution that prevents anyone declared bankrupt becoming or remaining an MP.
Mr Culleton on Monday called a press conference to say while he would remain in his office, he would take a period of absence.
“I have certainly left my mark in politics,” he said.
“I am not going anywhere. I’m actually going to concede to a self-imposed moratorium, myself, as a senator.
“I will not be attending any functions, although I haven’t had time to do that.
“I have been working very hard, and I see that as not a priority in the first three years to become a senator, in my duty to serve Western Australians.”
Mr Culleton declared he would however remain in his electorate office in Perth.
When asked, he would not answer any questions about whether his salary was still being paid by the Senate, or whether his staff continued to be paid.
He then declined to answer any further questions and walked out of the press conference.
Mr Culleton has been dogged by a series of legal cases including bankruptcy proceedings brought against him by former business partners.
He is also awaiting a finding from the Court of Disputed Returns, linked to a larceny charge.
The court is assessing whether Mr Culleton was in fact eligible to run for the Senate in the first place, as he had been convicted on a charge which could attract a jail term of more than 12 months, although that finding was later annulled.
Under the constitution, MPs and senators can be disqualified if they are convicted of an offence punishable by at least a year’s jail.