Tony Windsor

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Tony Windsor
Tonywindsor.JPG
Member of the Australian Parliament
for New England
In office
10 November 2001 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Stuart St. Clair
Succeeded by Barnaby Joyce
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Tamworth
In office
25 May 1991 – 16 October 2001
Preceded by Noel Park
Succeeded by John Cull
Personal details
Born (1950-09-02) 2 September 1950 (age 63)
Quirindi, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Independent (1991–present)
Spouse(s) Lyn
Children 1 (female); 2 (male)
Residence Tamworth, New South Wales
Alma mater University of New England
Profession Economist
Farmer

Antony Harold Curties "Tony" Windsor (born 2 September 1950) is a former Australian politician. He was an independent member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1991 to 2001, representing the electorate of Tamworth. He subsequently entered federal politics, serving as an independent member of the Australian House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013, representing the electorate of New England. He was one of several MPs who supported the Gillard minority Labor government from 2010 to 2013, and retired at the 2013 federal election.

Early life[edit]

Windsor was born in Quirindi, New South Wales, and was educated at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, Tamworth and the University of New England where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics. He was a farmer at Werris Creek before entering politics.[1][2] He was one of three sons raised by his mother after his father was killed in a farm accident when Windsor was eight years old.[3]

New South Wales political career[edit]

In the 1991 election, Windsor was first elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the Member for Tamworth. Windsor was originally a National Party candidate for this seat, but allegations in regards to a drink-driving incident arose on the day of his pre-selection, and the National Party endorsed another candidate.[4][5] In spite of the allegations, Windsor won as an independent candidate and held the seat for ten years. Windsor was one of the four independents who held the balance of power after Nick Greiner's Liberal-National Coalition lost 10 seats, resulting in a hung parliament. His decision to support the Coalition ensured a second term in government for Greiner. After an adverse ruling by the Independent Commission Against Corruption against Greiner for offering former minister Terry Metherell a patronage job, the Labor opposition tabled a motion of no confidence in the government. Windsor and the other three independents told Greiner that unless he resigned, they would withdraw their support from the government and support the no-confidence motion. Rather than face certain defeat in the House, Greiner resigned and was succeeded by John Fahey.[6][7]


Federal political career[edit]

Windsor resigned from the state parliament in September 2001 in order to contest the federal seat of New England.[1]

In the federal election held later that year, he defeated one-term National incumbent Stuart St. Clair.[8] Windsor took a large lead on the first count, overtook the Labor candidate on One Nation preferences and then defeated St. Clair on Labor preferences. Windsor's victory was considered a shock result, since the National Party and its predecessor, the Country Party, had held New England without serious difficulty since 1922.

In September 2004, in an interview with Tony Vermeer from The Sunday Telegraph,[9] Windsor was the centre of controversy over an alleged breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. Windsor claimed that he had been approached, in May 2004, by a figure associated with the National Party with the offer of a diplomatic position in exchange for retiring from politics. Windsor made the allegations during the course of the 2004 Federal election campaign,[10] some five months after the incident allegedly occurred.[11] The Australian Electoral Commission referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).[10] Windsor was comfortably reelected in the October 2004 election, increasing his majority to 21 percent. A month later, speaking under parliamentary privilege, he said that National Party leader John Anderson and Senator Sandy Macdonald had made the offer through an intermediary, Tamworth businessman Greg McGuire. Windsor also claimed that the AFP had referred the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for determination.[9] Anderson, Macdonald, and McGuire denied the claims.[11][12][13] The AFP investigated Windsor's claims and advised that the matter would not be prosecuted.[10][14]

Windsor was comfortably reelected in 2007, increasing his majority to 24 percent.

2010 Federal election[edit]

As one of the four independents elected to the House of Representatives at the 2010 Australian federal election (the others were Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie), Windsor was at the centre of negotiations to determine the government after both major parties failed to win a majority in their own right. Windsor, together with Oakeshott and Katter, initially resolved to form a bloc to assist negotiations with the major parties to form government.[15] However, several days later, Windsor claimed it should not be assumed that the three rural independents would move together.[16][17] In a press conference on 7 September 2010, Windsor revealed that he would support a Labor government during confidence motions and supply bills. Oakeshott also threw his support to Labor, handing Labor a second term.[18]

2013 Federal election[edit]

On 26 June 2013 Windsor announced that he would not be contesting the 2013 federal election; partly due to an undisclosed medical condition.[19]

Political views[edit]

Windsor describes himself as a conservative.[3] He has endorsed a referendum on the death penalty and supports liberalisation of gun control. In an interview published in The Sydney Morning Herald following the 2010 Federal election, it was reported that Windsor supports a rent resources tax, deep cuts to carbon emissions, and improved services to rural and regional areas such as Labor's proposed national broadband network but wants to ensure the scheme is fully costed.[3] The same article claimed that Windsor supports the Coalition's position on water, and the Greens position on a universal dental scheme.[3]

He has fought a long-standing battle protecting the interests of local landholders and farmers living on one of NSW's richest agricultural regions, the Liverpool Plains, due to the impact of mining on underlying groundwater. The region is rich in coal deposits and mining companies, such as BHP Billiton and Whitehaven Coal, have sought to acquire land. Greens have campaigned alongside Windsor, against mining companies.[20] During the 2010 federal election campaign, it was revealed that Windsor had sold his family farm at Werris Creek to a wholly owned subsidiary of Whitehaven Coal, and then leased the property back. The reported sale was for more than A$4.5 million.[21] The Australian subsequently claimed that Windsor yielded a return about three times greater than other farmers who sold their properties to the same company in the previous 18 months.[22]

Windsor was present at the February 2011 announcement by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on the proposed July 2012 introduction of a tax on carbon emissions, together with Greens senators Bob Brown and Christine Milne, the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, and independent MP Rob Oakeshott. Windsor downplayed his presence at the announcement, stating, "Please don't construe from my presence here that I will be supporting anything."[23] He was later reported as stating that he would not accept increased transport fuel costs for country people.[24] He subsequently announced that he was supporting Gillard's carbon policy, as a matter of principle, and stated: "This is about the history of people, most of whom haven't even been born yet. And if I'm sacked from politics because of that, well, I'll remove myself with a smile on my face."[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mr Antony Harold Curties Windsor (1950 – )". Former Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "About Tony Windsor". Tony Windsor. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Fenley, Rick (28 August 2010). "Contradictions define independence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Davies, Shaun (22 August 2010). "Five men may control country's destiny". Nine News (Australia). Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Parker, Gareth (28 August 2010). "No love lost between bedfellows". The West Australian. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Humphries, David (28 August 2010). "Winning over a tough crowd". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Ward, Ian (December 1992). "Australian Political Chronicle: January–June 1992". Australian Journal of Politics and History 38 (3): 421–422. ISSN 0004-9522. 
  8. ^ "Mr Tony Windsor MP". Members of the House of Representatives. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Adjournment Debate". Hansard, House of Representatives (Commonwealth of Australia). No 1, 2004: 151–2, 158. 17 November 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c "Election Complaint – Allegation of Bribery". Media release. Australian Electoral Commission. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Sheehan, Paul (22 November 2004). "Kingmaker Windsor falls on his sword". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Anderson quizzed over bribe claims". ABC News (Australia). 18 November 2004. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  13. ^ Brissenden, Michael (17 November 2004). "Windsor names alleged plotters bent on ousting him". 7:30 Report (Australia). Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Brissenden, Michael (22 November 2004). "Key regional seats promised millions during election". 7:30 Report. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  15. ^ Grattan, Michelle; Colebatch, Tim; Gordon, Michael (23 August 2010). "Trio joins forces as Gillard claims right to govern". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  16. ^ Gordon, Josh (29 August 2010). "Independents may split to seal a deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Gordon, Josh; Munro, Peter; Darby, Andrew (29 August 2010). "Independents could go separate ways". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  18. ^ Davis, Mark (7 September 2010). "Labor over the line: Windsor and Oakeshott hand power to Gillard". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  19. ^ Griffiths, Emma (26 June 2013). "Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announce they are quitting politics". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Wilkinson, Marian (22 May 2009). "Warden upholds coalmining plan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  21. ^ Champberlain, Simon (17 July 2010). "MP sold property to Werris Creek coal mine". Northern Daily Leader (Australia). Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  22. ^ Klan, Anthony; Aikman, Amos (28 August 2010). "Independent MP Tony Windsor in league of his own on farm sale". The Australian. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  23. ^ Massola, James (24 February 2011). "Australia to have carbon price from July 1, 2012, Julia Gillard announces". The Australian. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  24. ^ Coorey, Phillip (28 February 2011). "Windsor says he'll stop carbon plans if Greens go too far". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  25. ^ Mercer, Phil (11 July 2011). "Carbon tax divides Australia". BBC News. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Noel Park
Member for Tamworth
1991–2001
Succeeded by
John Cull
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Stuart St. Clair
Member for New England
2001–2013
Succeeded by
Barnaby Joyce