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Tony Windsor - Platform

  • The most intriguing of politicians, Werris Creek has been Tony’s home all of his life. He attended Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School and studied a Bachelor of Economics at the University of New England. He has been a primary producer for most of his life and has been a member on a plethora of farming community groups and NSW government councils on rural issues. As a foreign envoy Windsor has negotiated with the Chinese and Korean Trade Delegation regarding value adding to local agricultural products, and has been an Australian delegate to the International Farm Management Congress in Kenya, where he shared his expertise on dryland farming food production.

    Windsor commenced his political career in 1991 as the Independent State Member for Tamworth, and has enjoyed State records in his primary vote and two party preferred majorities over consecutive terms. In the NSW Parliament, he held the balance of power and gave support and confidence to the Liberal/National alliance to form a minority government.

    In 2001 Windsor resigned from NSW Parliament , contested the Federal seat of New England as an Independent, and won the seat successfully. Considering it had been safely held by the Coalition since 1919, this was a monumental achievement. Here too, he received outrageous record majorities and electoral swings in his favour over consecutive terms.

    After the hung parliament in 2010, Tony Windsor was again faced with the balance of power. While fiercely reserving the right to vote independently from the cross-bench, not only did Windsor have extensive deliberations with both sides of politics, but also their departmental heads.

    Firmly based on the outcomes possible for the constituents he represents in New England, he subsequently framed a decision to support the Labor government. Along with significant measures of parliamentary reform and accountability of government, Windsor has bargained for and received a major government commitment to Regional Australia which includes telecommunications and infrastructure, agriculture, water, health, regional policy and development, and education.

    In Federal Parliament, Windsor is on the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Standing Committee for Primary Industry and Resources, and the Standing Committee for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. He is Chairman of the Regional Australia Committee, member of the Prime Minister’s Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change, and member of the House of Representative Privileges Committee.

    With a voracious commitment to country NSW, Tony Windsor has championed the visionary process of convening NSW Country Summits since the inaugural Tamworth Summit of 1996. He went on to form alliances with other Independents in country NSW in order to collaboratively pursue the interests of rural NSW to greater effect. As a Federal Member he has continued this successful initiative with a numerous Vision New England Summits convened over the past 11 years that he has held the seat. As an effective process to ascertain and clarify the real issues facing rural NSW, these Summits have proven to be excellent devices to meet the needs of the electorate.

    He has often been touted as having connections to the National Party, but to this end the relationship is one that has faced challenge from its inception.

    The Nationals pre-selected Windsor at the start of his political career in the NSW electorate of Tamworth, but then decided to withdraw the pre-selection in favour of another candidate. Windsor pressed on and contested the election as an Independent, only to win and hold the seat convincingly over subsequent years. He then held the balance of power with three other Independents in the NSW Lower House and was instrumental in not only assisting the Greiner government in forming a minority government, but after only one year in Parliament, also withdrawing his support for Greiner and encouraging him to resign after an adverse ruling from the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    Not one to shy away from controversy, during the 2004 Federal Election, Windsor made public allegations that the National Party had offered him a diplomatic position in return for retiring from politics. The matter was reported to the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Federal Police. The 2004 election was a grand victory for Windsor, yet after the investigation and the denial by the parties alleged to have been involved, the matter was not prosecuted.

    As may be apparent, Windsor has the historic nature of a conservative, but he has purposefully kept his autonomy intact. No doubt his record of consistent and significant success in the opinion of the electorate has afforded him a measure of confidence. He votes without holding fast to any prescribed dogma; on a case by case basis.

    Accordingly, Windsor supports the Labor Minerals and Resources Rent Tax, and has campaigned against large mining interests with the Greens. In keeping with his support for rural Australia, he supports the National Broadband Network. Balancing the needs of his electorate for lower fuel costs, against the interests of future generations in a carbon free environment, he supports the Labor/Greens initiative for achieving carbon emissions reduction through the Clean Energy legislation. Focusing on real outcomes for the people of New England, Windsor supports the Coalition policy on water, and the Greens push for universal dental care.

    There has been some controversy about Windor’s sale of his own property to a mining company. Windsor is adamant that he is not against mining in general, but opposes it when it poses specific threats such as that to the interface with ground water in the Liverpool Plains. His justification for selling his property is on the basis that it comprises land of quite a different type to the Liverpool Plains. Considering his specialist knowledge in agriculture and economics, and also the fact that he has many successful years of experience in public life, it is highly likely that his integrity regarding this matter is intact.