Tony Crook (politician)

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Tony Crook
Member of the Australian Parliament
for O'Connor
In office
21 August 2010 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Wilson Tuckey
Succeeded by Rick Wilson
Personal details
Born Anthony John Crook
(1959-06-23) 23 June 1959 (age 55)
Merredin, Western Australia
Political party National Party of Western Australia
Website http://www.tonycrook.com.au/

Anthony John "Tony" Crook (born 23 June 1959) is a retired Australian politician. He was the member of the Australian House of Representatives seat of O'Connor for the National Party of Western Australia from the 2010 federal election until August 2013. Crook served as chairman of the Western Division of the Royal Flying Doctor Service for 10 years until his retirement in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Crook was born and raised in Merredin in the wheatbelt region, where his family were pioneer farmers in the area.[1]

Crook once owned Woolibar station, a 140,000 hectares (350,000 acres) sheep station approximately 45 km south of Kalgoorlie and sold the business in 2006 to become part of an agricultural consultancy in Kalgoorlie with his brother Brett.[2]

Politics[edit]

In the 2007 federal election, Crook stood for the WA Nationals for a Senate seat but was unsuccessful. He also stood for the seat of Kalgoorlie at the 2008 state election, losing to independent John Bowler.

Following the redistribution of O'Connor, where the seat lost the Mid West region and gained the Goldfields-Esperance region, Crook ran against Liberal incumbent Wilson Tuckey at the 2010 election where a hung parliament resulted. The Nationals campaigned in Western Australia as an independent party which would not "report, answer and take direction from (federal Nationals leader) Warren Truss".[3]

Crook won with 28.85 percent of the primary vote, a swing to the WA Nationals of 19.68 percent, finishing with 53.56 percent of the two-party preferred vote.[4] Crook campaigned on a platform of a Royalties for Regions policy on a national level, is against the Mineral Resource Rent Tax, and sought these interests in his discussions with the major parties over who would get Crook's confidence and supply vote to form government.[5][6][7]

Crook stated he would sit as a crossbencher advocating the interests of regional Western Australia. "I'm clearly an independent," he stated to reporters. "I can sit on the crossbenches quite comfortably."[5] "Tony Abbott urged me to consider my position and said to consider that I am a member of the Nationals. But I highlighted to him that although we are a federated body, the WA Nationals are an autonomous political organisation." Crook said he had been disappointed by media coverage of the hung parliament, which counted him as part of the Coalition along with National MPs from east of the Nullarbor. "In every news report and press report we see, my number is being allocated in with the Coalition and it shouldn't be," he said.[8][9][10] The National Party of Western Australia prior to and subsequent to the election are in no federal Coalition agreement, Crook has stated he is a crossbencher, and he and the WA Nationals are open to negotiating with either side to form government.[11][12][13] On 6 September Crook declared his support for the Coalition on confidence and supply, but would otherwise sit on the crossbench.[10] On 27 September Crook announced he would not be attending federal National Party of Australia party room meetings.[14][15] Since his election, Crook at times has voted for federal Labor government policies in parliament contrary to the official position of the National Party of Australia.[16]

On 2 May 2012 Crook announced that from Tuesday 8 May, he would move from the cross benches to sit with his National Party colleagues.[17] He did not, however, participate in joint Coalition meetings.[18]

Retirement[edit]

On 9 April 2013 Crook announced he planned to retire from politics at the forthcoming election citing stress resulting from long distance travel and separation from his family as justification.[19] At the Australian Federal election held on 7 September 2013, the Western Australian National Party suffered a 3.5% swing against them with the consequent return of the seat to the Liberal Party.[20] The party no longer has representation in Australia's Federal parliament.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2010 Election – O'Connor". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  2. ^ "The Nationals – Tony Crook". National Party of Western Australia. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  3. ^ Spagnolo, Joe (8 August 2010). "Grylls defies bully". The Sunday Times (News Limited). p. 9. Retrieved 2010-08-26. [dead link]
  4. ^ "WA Division - O'Connor (Virtual Tally Room)". Australian Electoral Commission. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Amanda (24 August 2010). "Tony Crook will stand by demands". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  6. ^ Ker, Peter (24 August 2010). "I'll go it alone, warns Crook". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  7. ^ O'Brien, Kerry (25 August 2010). "Hanging In The Balance". 7:30 Report (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  8. ^ Ker, Peter (26 August 2010). "Don't count me among Coalition, says Nat". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  9. ^ Colebatch , Tim (28 August 2010). "72 all - Brisbane to Coalition and Corangamite to ALP". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  10. ^ a b "ABC 'Crook declares support for Abbott' (6 Sept 2010) . Retrieved 6 Sept 2010". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  11. ^ O'Brien, Amanda (24 August 2010). "Tony Crook will stand by demands". The Australian. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  12. ^ Ker, Peter (24 August 2010). "I'll go it alone, warns Crook". The Age. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  13. ^ O'Brien, Kerry (25 August 2010). "Hanging In The Balance". ABC News interview, The 7:30 Report. Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Blow for Nationals as maverick Tony Crook opts to sit as independent' - News.com.au (27-9-2010) - Samantha Maiden - retrieved 27-9-2010
  15. ^ Crook to snub Nationals party room - ABC Online (27-9-2010) - retrieved 27-9-2010
  16. ^ Gillard's Malaysia manoeuvre hooked on Crook: SMH 9 October 2011
  17. ^ "Coalition claims 72 seats as Nationals MP Tony Crook joins". News.com.au (News Limited). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  18. ^ Grattan, Michelle (28 September 2012). "Abbott brushes aside split in ranks over wheat vote". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  19. ^ http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/crook-to-retire/2653805.aspx
  20. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/guide/ocon/
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Wilson Tuckey
Member for O'Connor
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Rick Wilson