Tony Windsor

Tony Windsor
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
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

Antony Harold Curties "Tony" Windsor (born 2 September 1950) is an Australian politician. Windsor was an independent member for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Tamworth from 1991 to 2001 − supporting the incumbent Greiner Liberal/National Coalition minority government at the 1991 election.

He subsequently entered federal politics, serving as an independent member for the Australian House of Representatives seat of New England from 2001 until retiring in 2013 − supporting the incumbent Gillard Labor minority government at the 2010 election.

At the 2016 election, Windsor unsuccessfully attempted to regain the seat of New England against Nationals incumbent Barnaby Joyce.

Early life

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

New South Wales political career

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 incumbent Coalition government 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

Windsor resigned from the state parliament in September 2001 in order to contest the federal seat of New England.[2]

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 since 1922, usually without serious difficulty.

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 re-elected 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 re-elected in 2007, increasing his majority to 24 per cent.

2010 federal election

As one of the six crossbenchers elected to the House of Representatives at the 2010 election, 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 Rob Oakeshott and Bob 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 the incumbent Labor government during confidence motions and supply bills. Oakeshott also threw his support to the incumbent Labor government, handing Labor a second term.[18]

2013 federal election

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

2016 federal election

On 10 March 2016, Windsor announced his intention to contest his former seat of New England as an independent candidate at the 2016 election. He is attempting to defeat Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the National Party of Australia Barnaby Joyce who won the seat upon Windsor's retirement at the previous election.[20]

Windsor faced Nationals incumbent Barnaby Joyce at the 2016 election. Seat-level polling in the seat of New England found Joyce and Windsor neck and neck.[21][22][23] On election day, however, Windsor was convincingly defeated, taking 41 percent of the two-party vote. Joyce actually won a majority on the primary vote, enough to retain the seat without the need for preferences. Before his defeat at this election Windsor said, "You haven't seen the last of me" and was asked if he would stand again if he did not win he answered, "I wouldn't rule anything out." [24]

Political views

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.[1] The same article claimed that Windsor supports the Coalition's position on water, and the Greens position on a universal dental scheme.[1]

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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

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."[28] He was later reported as stating that he would not accept increased transport fuel costs for country people.[29] 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."[30]

Tony Windsor opposes same-sex marriage, saying that "marriage is a union between a man and a woman". He voted along with 97 other lower house MPs against same-sex marriage in 2012.[31][32]

After politics

Tony Windsor – The Biography was published in 2014.[33]


  1. 1 2 3 Fenley, Rick (28 August 2010). "Contradictions define independence". The Sydney Morning Herald - via Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  2. 1 2 "Mr Antony Harold Curties Windsor (1950 – )". Former members of parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  3. "About Tony Windsor". Tony Windsor. Retrieved 18 February 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. 1 2 "Adjournment Debate" (PDF). Hansard, House of Representatives. Commonwealth of Australia. No 1, 2004: 151–2, 158. 17 November 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  10. 1 2 3 "Election Complaint – Allegation of Bribery". Media release. Australian Electoral Commission. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  11. 1 2 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. "Barnaby Joyce prepared for 'battle' against Tony Windsor in New England". ABC News. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  21. Tony Windsor could beat Barnaby Joyce in New England seat, poll says: The Guardian 29 February 2016
  22. Barnaby Joyce claims 'underdog' status against Tony Windsor in fight to keep seat of New England: ABC 14 March 2016
  23. Deputy PM in danger of wipe-out: The Australian 14 March 2016
  24. "Right Old Barney - A hard fight but Joyce (and daughters) see off Windsor", Townsend, Samantha, Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) July 3 2016
  25. Wilkinson, Marian (22 May 2009). "Warden upholds coalmining plan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  26. Champberlain, Simon (17 July 2010). "MP sold property to Werris Creek coal mine". Northern Daily Leader - via Australia. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  27. 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.
  28. Packham, Ben; Massola, James (24 February 2011). "Australia to have carbon price from July 1, 2012, Julia Gillard announces". The Australian. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  29. 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.
  30. Mercer, Phil (11 July 2011). "Carbon tax divides Australia". BBC News. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  31. Fitzgerald, Ross August 9, 2014 The Australian Retrieved 9 April 2015
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Noel Park
Member for Tamworth
Succeeded by
John Cull
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Stuart St. Clair
Member for New England
Succeeded by
Barnaby Joyce
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