Tony Crook (politician)

Last updated

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
Anthony John Crook

(1959-06-23) 23 June 1959 (age 60)
Merredin, Western Australia
Political party The Nationals WA

Anthony John 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.

Division of OConnor Australian federal electoral division

The Division of O'Connor is an Australian electoral division in the state of Western Australia. It is one of Western Australia's three rural seats, and one of the largest electoral constituencies in the world.

The National Party of Australia (WA) Inc is a political party in Western Australia. It is affiliated with the National Party of Australia but maintains a separate structure and identity.

2010 Australian federal election general election

The 2010 Australian federal election was held on Saturday, 21 August 2010 to elect members of the 43rd Parliament of Australia. The incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard won a second term against the opposition centre-right Liberal Party of Australia led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Coalition partner the National Party of Australia, led by Warren Truss, after Labor formed a minority government with the support of three independent MPs and one Australian Greens MP. As of 2019 this remains the last federal election victory for the Labor party.


Early life

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

Merredin, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Merredin is a town in Western Australia, located in the Central Wheatbelt roughly midway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, on Route 94, Great Eastern Highway. It is located on the route of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, and as a result is also on the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail.

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]

Sheep station type of ranch in Australia or New Zealand

A sheep station is a large property in Australia or New Zealand whose main activity is the raising of sheep for their wool and meat. In Australia, sheep stations are usually in the south-east or south-west of the country. In New Zealand the Merinos are usually in the high country of the South Island. These properties may be thousands of square kilometres in size and run low stocking rates to be able to sustainably provide enough feed and water for the stock.


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.

2007 Australian federal election election

The 2007 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 24 November 2007. All 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the seats in the 76-member Senate were up for election. The election featured a 39-day campaign, with 13.6 million Australians enrolled to vote.

Electoral district of Kalgoorlie state electoral district of Western Australia

Kalgoorlie is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Western Australia.

2008 Western Australian state election Australian state election

The 2008 Western Australian state election was held on Saturday 6 September 2008 to elect 59 members to the Legislative Assembly and 36 members to the Legislative Council. The incumbent centre-left Labor Party government, in power since the 2001 election and led since 25 January 2006 by Premier Alan Carpenter, was defeated by the centre-right Liberal Party opposition, led by Opposition Leader Colin Barnett since 6 August 2008.

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 WA Nationals campaigned as an independent party which would not "report, answer and take direction from (federal Nationals leader) Warren Truss". [3]

Mid West (Western Australia) Region in Western Australia

The Mid West region is one of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is a sparsely populated region extending from the west coast of Western Australia, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) north and south of its administrative centre of Geraldton and inland to 450 kilometres (280 mi) east of Wiluna in the Gibson Desert.

Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia

The Goldfields-Esperance region is one of the nine regions of Western Australia. It is located in the south eastern corner of Western Australia, and comprises the local government areas of Coolgardie, Dundas, Esperance, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Laverton, Leonora, Menzies, Ngaanyatjarraku and Ravensthorpe.

Liberal Party of Australia Australian political party

The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP).

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, was 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]

In a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a minority government to retain power in the lower house.

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] Later, he added that "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] As mentioned above, the WA Nationals, unlike their federal counterparts, were not bound by any federal Coalition agreement. Crook stated that he was 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] Crook at times did vote 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]


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. [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.

In early 2016 he was preselected by the Nationals WA to contest the seat of Kalgoorlie in the March 2017 state election from the retiring Nationals WA member Wendy Duncan MLA.

Following the 2017 State Election in which Crook was unsuccessful he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club Inc (KBRC). The KBRC is one of the oldest and largest provincial racing clubs in Western Australia; well known for hosting The Round.

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  1. "2010 Election – O'Connor". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  2. "The Nationals – Tony Crook". National Party of Western Australia. 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. Spagnolo, Joe (8 August 2010). "Grylls defies bully". The Sunday Times . News Limited. p. 9. Retrieved 26 August 2010.[ dead link ]
  4. "WA Division - O'Connor (Virtual Tally Room)". Australian Electoral Commission. 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  5. 1 2 O'Brien, Amanda (24 August 2010). "Tony Crook will stand by demands". The Australian . News Limited . Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  6. Ker, Peter (24 August 2010). "I'll go it alone, warns Crook". The Age . Fairfax Media . Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  7. O'Brien, Kerry (25 August 2010). "Hanging In The Balance". 7:30 Report . Australian Broadcasting Corporation . Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  8. Ker, Peter (26 August 2010). "Don't count me among Coalition, says Nat". The Age . Fairfax Media . Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  9. Colebatch , Tim (28 August 2010). "72 all - Brisbane to Coalition and Corangamite to ALP". The Sydney Morning Herald . Fairfax Media . Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  10. 1 2 "ABC 'Crook declares support for Abbott' (6 Sept 2010) . Retrieved 6 Sept 2010". Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  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' - (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 Limited. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  18. Grattan, Michelle (28 September 2012). "Abbott brushes aside split in ranks over wheat vote". Sydney Morning Herald .
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Wilson Tuckey
Member for O'Connor
Succeeded by
Rick Wilson