The independent member for New England, Tony Windsor, has spoken under parliamentary privilege in the House of Representatives and levelled accusations of bribery against the Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson, and the NSW National Party Senator Sandy McDonald.
The allegations relate to an ongoing police investigation and provide flesh to charges first made by Windsor during the recent election campaign.
Windsor won the traditionally National Party electorate of New England in 2001, following a 10-year stint as the independent member for the state seat of Tamworth.
- Listen to Tony Windsor’s Allegations (5m)
- Read and listen to Anderson’s response in the House of Representatives
Hansard transcript of the speech made by Tony Windsor in the Adjournment Debate in the House of Representatives.
The SPEAKER—Order! It being 7.30 p.m., I propose the question:
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr WINDSOR (New England) (7.30 p.m.)—The House would be aware that the Australian Federal Police have referred an alleged breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act to the Director of Public Prosecutions for determination relating to an inducement offered to me not to stand for re-election at the election just held. The House would also know that the Prime Minister has called on me to name the names of those people involved in the attempt to bribe me.
I would like to place on record an account of a meeting that took place on 19 May 2004 at 10.30 a.m. at the office of Tamworth businessman Mr Greg McGuire in the Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum. The meeting was attended by Mr McGuire, Mr Stephen Hall, my campaign co-chairman, Ms Helen Tickle, my campaign secretary, and me. I have had many meetings with Mr McGuire in the past relating to the development of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre, and Mr McGuire has also assisted with advice during previous election campaigns.
It was assumed that the meeting was to be about the upcoming election and progress that Mr McGuire had made in relation to the equine centre concept and planning which was being developed for federal funding. Prior to that issue being raised, Mr McGuire indicated that he had spent four to five hours the night before in the company of the Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and National Party senator Sandy Macdonald and a blackhaired woman whose name he did not recall.
Mr McGuire made a number of points regarding the previous night’s meeting, and I would like to go through those points: John Anderson was paranoid about me and the demise of The Nationals and the rise of Independents; Mr Anderson asked Mr McGuire to meet with me and give me some messages, which Mr McGuire was then doing; Mr Anderson said that if I tried to get any credit for the funding of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre the funding would not take place; Mr Anderson was also concerned about my continued association with the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre, given my political position; Mr Anderson and Senator Macdonald asked Mr McGuire what it would take to get me to not stand for re-election and indicated that there could be another career for me outside politics, such as a diplomatic post or a trade appointment, if I did not stand for the seat of New England. Senator Macdonald said, ‘Offer him whatever it takes, we can deliver.’ One of the them also said, ‘The government makes about 500 political appointments, it can be done.’ Senator Macdonald also said, ‘Windsor has a pension, why does he want to hang around anyway?’ Apparently, he was referring to my 10 years in state
I know Greg McGuire quite well. My response to Mr McGuire was, ‘Greg, you should know I’m’—there was an expletive put in here—‘offended by that and you should know full well that I would not consider any such appointment.’ Mr McGuire replied, ‘I know, mate, I’ve just been asked to deliver the message.’ My response was, ‘I cannot understand these guys and the lengths that they will go to to get rid of me—to think that I would even consider such an offer.’ I apologised to Ms Tickle for my swearing. My further comment to Mr McGuire was, ‘I believe’—and I still do believe this—‘that this is an act of stupidity and desperation to regain the seat. Tell Anderson and Macdonald I’m not interested.’ Mr McGuire responded with ‘I still want you to get in touch with Anderson. Anderson is saying you won’t talk to him,’ which I agreed to do. The conversation took place in this very spot a couple of weeks later.
I believe that Mr McGuire was acting only as a messenger for John Anderson and Sandy Macdonald The matter became public knowledge as a result of discussions which I had with Tony Vermeer of the Sunday Telegraph relating to my role in a hung parliament. The matter was subsequently mentioned in an article by that journalist in the Sunday Telegraph on 19 September 2004. I would like to point out that Mr McGuire is a very well-regarded businessman in Tamworth. He has been the prime mover in promoting the concept of the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre. I congratulate him on his success and thank him for his efforts. In my view, Mr McGuire is— (Time expired)
The SPEAKER—The member will resume his seat.