Tony Windsor: The PM\'s Unlikely Human Shield

Updated June 26, 2013 16:17:42

Tony Windsor made a decision in 2010, and has stuck to it ever since.>> Photo: Tony Windsor made a decision in 2010, and has stuck to it ever since. (Cole Bennetts, file photo: Getty Images)

As today confirms, Julia Gillard gets more loyalty from National Party defectors than she gets from her own kind, writes Annabel Crabb.

Of all the people who could - this week - have installed themselves as human shields for the Prime Minister, why would it be a 62-year-old former National Party candidate from country New South Wales?

Tony Windsor's retirement from politics, announced today - and that of his independent colleague Rob Oakeshott - confirms one of the strangest elements of these strange, strange three years; that Julia Gillard gets more loyalty from National Party defectors than she gets from her own kind.

There is no doubt that serving as a balance-of-power independent MP carries some intense privileges. Normally, independents in a parliament are regarded with the sort of genial indifference customarily extended to visiting exchange students ("Hello! What an interesting shirt! Hope you enjoy your stay. And if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my way.")

On the odd occasion when Election Lotto spits out a hung parliament, these long-forgotten curiosities are sought out, with some urgency, in order that their tummies can be tickled.

And all of a sudden, their personal obsessions become topics of extreme interest to the major parties: ethanol, poker machines, parliamentary reform, the urgent work required on the Hobart Hospital.

The appeal of suddenly being paid attention is considerable. And as Rob Oakeshott demonstrated at some length nearly three years ago, when an attentive national audience gathers respectfully at one's door, sometimes it feels good just to keep on talking.

But there is a downside, too: hyper-accountability.

Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are more closely identified with the Gillard Government than many of that Government's actual members.

Where Caucus members enjoy the semi-anonymity of the herd environment, Windsor and Oakeshott - having signed Julia Gillard into power, and backed her at every occasion on which there's been an existential threat to her prime ministership - are held responsible for every choice she has made.

They receive a disproportionately low - for their responsibilities - share of the paid policy advice supplied in Parliament House, and a disproportionately large share of the free character advice supplied by members of the public.

They get the after-hours phone calls from Bill Heffernan, but not the comfort of sharing the blame passively among a larger group, which is a significant feature of this Labor caucus.

And today, as a Prime Minister who is down to her knitting needles but still fighting confronts a susurrus of rebellion within her own party, it's Tony Windsor who is using his last days in politics to protect her.

Mr Windsor's intimation today that he would pull the pin on the Labor Government altogether if the Caucus tips out Ms Gillard is not born of an innate support of incumbents; in his last balance-of-power gig in the Greiner NSW government, he withdrew his support for the then premier, effecting Greiner's downfall.

For better or worse, Mr Windsor made a decision in 2010, and has stuck to it ever since. It's more than Julia Gillard can expect from her comrades.

Annabel Crabb is the ABC's chief online political writer. View her full profile here.

Topics: federal-government, gillard-julia, government-and-politics

First posted June 26, 2013 15:00:20

Comments (234)

Comments for this story are closed.

  • Robert:

    26 Jun 2013 3:13:55pm

    Let's get something straight, Tony Windsor is not protecting Julia Gillard out of some high falluten idealism, it was always about him staying in Parliament as long as possible.

    He will pay dearly come the election for betraying his conservative electorate.

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    • Anthony:

      26 Jun 2013 6:35:40pm

      Umm... Read the article mate. Windsor is leaving, hence doesn't have to face any voter backlash.

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      • Zing:

        26 Jun 2013 8:39:20pm

        Read between the lines. Windsor is leaving because of voter backlash. Not to avoid it.

        His policical career is mud because of his association with the Gillard government. Turning up to the next election would be a waste of his time.

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        • thw yank:

          27 Jun 2013 7:26:52am

          Windsor has more honour in his little finger then most of the politicians now standing.

          Abbott could not win his support because of the type of man Abbott is that was bleeding obvious to all but the most LNP welded on's.

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        • Annie:

          27 Jun 2013 7:55:20am

          for once I agree wholeheartedly with you. Tony Windsor has been thoroughly aboveboard and transparent. He unfortunately now, is leaving Parliament, which is a great shame, as he proved to be more honest than the average politician.

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        • Penelope Bell:

          27 Jun 2013 1:00:11pm

          1. My God! Mon Dieu! How do you translate political reporting and political occurrences - obviously in what ever way you wish them to be interpreted. Some facts for you -

          2. Tony Windsor was, before becoming an Independent, a National Party candidate - so it can be assumed he had not previously and did not at the time of his election to the parliament support Labor Policies;

          3. Tony Windsor became the elected member for New England on the good faith of the National Party and conservative party supporters and voters, who gave him the nod and voted him in just ahead of the National Party conservative member. The Labor vote in that electorate was under 10% in that election and has historically always hovered around 10% in the electorate of New England;

          4. I grew up and was educated in the New England electorate and know it is a Country Party stronghold - previously held by such conservative giants as Dough Anthony and Ian Sinclair, etc. ;

          5. No Labor candidate, Green or alternative has ever had a showing in the Electorate of New England;

          6. When Tony Windsor (with the other betrayal by Rob Oakeshott), determined to hitch their support to the Labor Federal Wagon, both men were seen by the conservative voters who put them in Parliament as notorious traitors, not only was it a heinous betrayal to the people who voted them in, but also to their own brand of politics and moral and ethical principles. Charlatans, turncoats and chameleons are the words which commonly come to mind to describe such;

          7. With an election looming and knowing they have lost the support of the voters who put them in and will not be able to win again in their own constituency, both have lately began to align themselves with Labor voters; Greens voters and swinging voters - the voters who never support conservative politics;

          7. This latest Labor leadership spill, being just a short time out from an election, has given both MP's the perfect excuse not to face their electors this year; the perfect opportunity to gracefully retire and escape an egging and shaming at the hands of their own constituents - because both know that by choosing the LaborParty to govern, ahead of choosing a Liberal Coalition to govern, they have each bought a ticket of no return - signed their own death warrants for the next election. By slinking away quietly in this manner, they save themselves enormous public embarrassment;

          8. There is no high principle, no gallantry of standing for one's convictions, no high ideals being lived out here by either of these men - each is just looking after one's self to the last degree, the reason they are retiring after less than three years in Parliament - traitorous overnight flash-in-the pans is how they should be remembered.

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        • Albo:

          27 Jun 2013 10:50:58am

          Don't be ridiculous, yank !

          The man has no honour. Just self interest.

          Windsor has only ever had one threat to his political career and that is the LNP ever winning back his seat. The ALP barely exists in his seat and would never be a threat.

          Like he was ever going to support the LNP in 2010 !

          He was always going to support the ALP and he lead the "independents bloc" for 3 years to ensure that Abbott and the Coalition were kept at bay irrespective of the problems it might have caused the nation !

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      • Robert:

        27 Jun 2013 12:20:15pm

        Anthony, OBVIOUSLY he's not standing because he knows he'd get done like a dinner.

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    • Mike:

      26 Jun 2013 6:38:38pm

      How will he pay dearly at the election? He's retiring from Parliament.

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    • Noel Conway:

      26 Jun 2013 6:44:55pm

      He isn't standing at the next election. Windsor is a man of high principle, a principled and ethical man standing by his man, or in this case woman. Kudos to him for having the courage of his conviction.

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      • Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle:

        26 Jun 2013 11:09:41pm

        Pity he doesn't have enough conviction to face the electorate again. (He's decided to give them the rudd-around).

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      • C Ash:

        27 Jun 2013 5:54:21am

        Windsor has been guided by one principle only, his hatred of the LNP. He knew he would be beaten at the election and did not have the cojones to have a go.. In his farewell speech he could not resist having a go at Abbott, he will retire with millions from the sale of his farm to the coal industry, an industry he says he is against. the man is/was a hypocrite driven by his desire to harm the LNP.

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        • Penelope Bell:

          27 Jun 2013 1:50:57pm

          Yes, he does not need to work at all - sold his rural property to the coal mining industry - a grazing property worth approx. $3 million dollars, sold to the coal company for $10 million. Is anyone in here really aware of who the real Tony Windsor is?

          With the proceeds he deliberately purchased several rural properties in regions where Coal Seam Gas exploration is the most active, but does not live on any of them. Why? To duplicate the same deal he won with the coal industry, but this time do it with the Coal Seam Gas industry.

          Contributors in here talk about principles?? Eh? Well ... the rural people of Australia are dead against the Coal Seam Gas industry because it is linked with fouling and contaminating underground aquifers, which water rural farmers need to pump above ground in order to water their stock and to irrigate their pastures. If it is contaminated it cannot be used for either and CSG reports of contamination are rife in the USA and also to some extent here while early CSG mining is in the embryonic stages in Australia.

          Tony Windsor did the same thing to the Greiner Government that he has just just done to Gillard. He struck a secret deal with both leaders (Oakeshott joined him in the second instance), being a deal which was for the leader to put a few favours their way and if the leader agreed, then both pledged their parliamentary support. Windsor knew that Tony Abbott would never enter such an Agreement, unlike Nick Greiner and Julia Gillard. Now that she has gone, the deal is dead and both Windsor and Oakeshott lose its benefits. No principles nor ideology are at work here - just a case of "nothing left in it for me" ... particularly given that each betrayed his own constituents, those who put each of them there in the first place (the conservative voters). Both Oakeshott and Windor know their constituents will crucify them this time around if either were stupid enough to face them at the next election.

          Their conservative constituents would hang draw and quarter them if they could get their hands on them. Tony Windsor has lately been seen to be wooing in his electorate the Greens, Labor and swinging voters, which collectively represent about 15% of the vote in the New England Electorate, he has not been calling on the conservative constituents at all - a losing battle and he knows it. I don't frequent Oakeshott's electorate and don't have a wide network in it, but an educated guess brings me to suspect he is in exactly the same boat.

          This Labor leadership spill allows both MP's to slink away and avoid voter backlash at the next election and thereby avoid attracting too much of the wrong kind of media attention post election time. The deciding factor, of course is : Why spend millions on a campaign you know you can no longer win, having turned your support-base against yourself?

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    • A happy little debunker:

      26 Jun 2013 6:52:54pm

      No, he won't.

      He's Gonksi, He's outtahere!

      Now for our favorite kiddies dinosaur, the new member for New England - Barnaby - yeah

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      • dman :

        26 Jun 2013 10:23:41pm

        Yay, Barbary Joyce. All we have to do is teach him how to count, and probably spell, then make sense, then to stop being so irrational and emotional and angry, and to stop spitting when he talks and then mayb we might have some one worthy of starting kindergarten. By 2135 he might be ready for politics. Good luck to New England if they want this child to represent them.

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      • luke warm:

        26 Jun 2013 10:43:46pm

        Hence the phrase "From the sublime to the ridiculous". If you are correct, they are going from a member who really cares about his electorate to one who couldn't even bother putting on clean clothes when visited by his constituents who had travelled hundreds of kilometres to see him.

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    • Closet Romantic :

      26 Jun 2013 7:07:45pm

      Straight may not be the word it could be the last chance for Tony to have a crack at Tony.

      Could we be looking at a long complicated courtship?

      A really complicated way to get the LNP to support marriage equality?

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    • Amateur Observer:

      26 Jun 2013 9:13:18pm

      Robert, such born-to-rule beliefs show a complete lack of understanding of politics.

      Did you not realize Windsor was elected as an INDEPENDENT?

      Is it not obvious that Windsor was NOT elected as a Coalition MP?

      Independents generally get elected when they appear to do a good job and when the major parties seem useless in the electorate.

      The independents in this term of Federal parliament have brought with them a renewal of the parliamentary system, and a bit more balance to the legislation passing through our Commonwealth Parliament.

      This in a time when our major parties and their leaders are BOTH as pathetic as I've ever seen.

      So, Robert, instead of whining about the independents and pretending they should all be Coalition MPs, I sincerely hope that Australians vote MORE independents into office this year to hold both insipid major parties MORE to account.

      PS as others have commented, Windsor is retiring so he will not be getting any of the retribution you unjustly wish on him.

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    • James in Brisbane:

      27 Jun 2013 9:23:43am

      Robert, could you just confirm to me the conservative position on this? So, Tony Windsor should have sought to marginalise his electorate for the sake of satisfying an ideological position? So an MPs job is not to get the best for their electorate, but to accede to the partisan dictates of a number of their constituents?

      I always thought MPs were meant to get the best deal they could for their electorate, but obviously I've misunderstood the fundamental tenets of our system.

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  • Barge:

    26 Jun 2013 3:14:02pm

    Thank goodness both of these bloody independents will be gone.

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    • Amateur Observer:

      26 Jun 2013 9:14:17pm

      No it's sad really, the parliament REALLY NEEDS more independents now that both major parties and their leaders are so useless.

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    • George:

      26 Jun 2013 9:35:53pm

      A sad day when one cannot have opinions of one's own but have to follow the herd (ie the party line).

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    • luke warm:

      26 Jun 2013 10:40:00pm

      Yeah great - let's lock us in to the old corrupt 2 party system, where elected members consistently fail to represent their electorate. Labor represents unions, Liberals and Nationals represent big business and stuff the voter. So much for democracy. Rusted-ons from either side (and you are from the right) are enemies of progress, representative government and themselves.

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    • Blue Flame:

      27 Jun 2013 9:38:09am

      History will look back kindly on Windsor and Oakeshott.

      As others have said, they both displayed honour and integrity far beyond their parliamentary peers.

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  • Noel Conway:

    26 Jun 2013 3:16:54pm

    Annabel you have been as guilty as anyone else in the media for undermining the current leader of the nation.

    Nowhere in the media has there been a focus on substance. Nowhere has Tony Abbott been called to account.

    It seems unanimous within the media - at least the non Murdoch media - that Gillard has led a competent government to many successes. This has been the most reform driven government since Whitlam. Its legacy will live on and on.

    As i write this I listen to the coalition calling for an early election. During question time they asked questions about boats and climate change. In fact all week this is all they have had to ask questions about, boats and climate change.

    Don't they have any policies? Don't they have a story to tell?

    But where is the media raising these issues? Where is the media driven by truth exposing the weakness on the other side?

    All the media is interested in is the leadership of the Labor Party. They can't help themselves. It beggars belief. It beggars description. I'm flummoxed. Isn't there a bigger picture? Isn't which party that leads our country important? Why are you not commenting on that?

    Today the coalition says the government can't govern because they are so driven by division. But just today Gonski passed the senate. 570 pieces of legislation during the present term of government. This government has governed. It is the most reform driven government in more than a generation.

    Why doesn't the media see this story? Why doesn't the media tell this story? Shame on you, you have driven a knife through the heart of our democracy by failing to engage the great debates of this nation.

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 6:51:33pm

      Unanimous in the non-Murdoch media that the Gillard government has been competent? What, there are no Rudd groupies in the Australian media?

      Someone's been reading your fairytales my friend. I can only presume it is past your bedtime.

      If the media saw its role as being to support a government however poorly it performed then the media would have ceased to perform a useful function as far as I am concerned. Obviously you are passionate about the leadership of the ALP. It seems odd you want to stop the media reporting on it. From my side of the fence it is very difficult to see Ms Gillard as being attacked with knives or being anywhere near the heart of democracy. She wielded the knife once and is now trying to cut down a further challenge by calling on an early meeting for the caucus. How can you avoid seeing this? There is no divine right in Australian politics. If there's a better replacement you get shown the door and are assisted out with a boot. I do not care to make a call on who among Gillard and Rudd would make a better PM. That's Labor's call (democracy in action).

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      • Noel Conway:

        26 Jun 2013 8:20:32pm

        I am totally happy and proud over my support of Julia Gillard and her government.

        When you look at the media you have to look at what it has said during the present term of this government. The media has been focused solely on the leadership of the labor party. People argue that the Labor Party has been navel gazing. No, it is the media that has been navel gazing, incapable of holding the government and the opposition to account on policy.

        Policy is what should drive elections. This is the story people want to have told. I am glad that Julia Gillard has vowed to leave politics now that she has lost the leadership spill. Hopefully the party can unite behind Kevin Rudd and take the fight and the story up to the opposition. Good grief, the opposition might have to find a policy or two!!!

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        • John O:

          26 Jun 2013 9:55:13pm

          Tony Abbott could go to the election with no policies nd still beat this lot. The LNP learnt from the 2007 election - the ALP will steal your policies at every opportunity so don't release too many until absolutely necessary.

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        • Dugong:

          26 Jun 2013 10:13:38pm

          Pull the other one Noel. This is the fourth leadership spill in 3 years.

          If this is driven by the media, then the ALP are not fit to govern: they are so easily distracted. If it is not driven by the media, they are unfit to govern.

          Take your pick.

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      • Schmalz:

        26 Jun 2013 10:59:51pm

        Seriously OUB? It is blatantly obvious that there has been a huge media bias against the government. I'm more than happy to exchange facts with you on this... if you dare. This is the reason I haven't purchased a Daily Telegraph since 2010 - I enjoy reading the freebies at McDonalds. I want News, not biased opinions. Same reason I only watch the ABC or Channel 7 news, the only non-biased reporting currently available on TV. The media entourage that has participated in this base level biased will be tarnished forever. I hope they realise they have sold their journalistic credibility for short term objectives. And no, their allegiance to their employers is no excuse, 'simply obeying orders' went out of fashion in 1945.

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    • A happy little debunker:

      26 Jun 2013 6:59:13pm


      It's also been a comedic farce with 3 leadership challenges and 4 leadership spills in as many years.

      You have also developed an unhealthy obsession with Tony Abbott (rivalling only Penny Wong).

      I suspect you are 'secretly' a conservative supporter, but just can't admit it!

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    • mag:

      26 Jun 2013 7:03:46pm

      How on earth can you call a govt that amasses a massive $300bill in debt in five years -on top of blowing the savings account, has destroyed border protection with many billions of $$ spent on refugees, has developed a 'super mining profit tax' that collect virtually nothing, wacked a massive 'price' on 'carbon' pollution 300% higher than the world do you call that successful - the mind boggles that people still think all this is OK - well over 70% think IT IS NOT !!!!

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      • LeftRightOut:

        26 Jun 2013 7:50:03pm


        Try looking past the $$ and you may just see that there are positives. Why is it that almost all anti-labor rants are about money. While money is important, education, disability support, education are also important. These are the things Liberals are quite willing to ignore. Are you also ignoring them in your quest for the almighty dollar?

        As far as boarder protection - the Howard governments 'solutions' were abandoned because they were in humane and against international convention. The only purpose they served was abating the xenophobes.

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        • Dugong:

          26 Jun 2013 10:16:07pm

          "Try looking past the $$$"

          OK. Lets loot at 17,000+ asylum seeker arrivals in 2012, on 270+ boats.

          Who was it that said "another boat arrival, another policy failure" in 2003, when 1 boat arrived?

          Goodness, it was the ex-PM Gillard.

          As for humane, much better to dash yourself against rocks, or breathe your last breath full of oil-stained seawater.

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        • OverIt:

          26 Jun 2013 10:59:18pm

          "While money is important, education, disability support, education are also important."

          Yes LRO, all of these things and more are important. But at the risk of stating the bleedin obvious, all of them need money in order to deliver them. That is WHY money is important.

          Now do you get it?

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        • SVJ:

          26 Jun 2013 11:00:08pm

          No $$ no NDIS, Gonski, etc!

          Howard's policies didn't contravene international laws and how humane have the deaths been since dismantling the policy!!

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        • dean:

          26 Jun 2013 11:42:11pm

          When a country overspends, it loses its sovereignty - Greece, Spain and the like.

          These countries have lost their basic services and are now beholden to other countries.

          All of the items you and your Labor pin ups hold dear can only be delivered by solid economic manangement.

          The Labor party has been in power for 6 years all of which have been years of massive income from mining and the general economy. These have ben record years of Govt income.

          They have not delivered on education - it is unfunded.

          They have not delivered on disability - it is unfunded

          They have delivered debt and internal fights.

          Your blindness is not unique = all rusted on left voting progressives all believe that money grows on trees.

          The pitiful return of Kevin Rudd delivers the last nail for Labor to be in the wilderness for 10 years - just long enough to right the damage.

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        • LeftRightOut:

          27 Jun 2013 1:06:01pm

          The small debt incurred (as % of GDP) is the envy of the world in the current economic climate and we are far from loosing our sovereignty. Instead of burying their head in the sand, they got on with the job of governing for the people.

          Many of the financial problems stem from the Howard government which offered tax breaks rather than investing. As the population got used to tax breaks Rudd & Gillard had reduced options. Instead of stopping delivery of reform they opted for maintaining low unemployment, introducing new policy, building infrastructure with a relatively small debt that can be recovered when the global economy recovers.

          The Howard government sold assets, invested poorly in infrastructure, schools, hospitals etc,. Then offered middle class welfare, cut taxes on high income earners while increasing taxes (GST) on low income earners. At the end of term proclaimed how financially better they were. However, international experts labelled his government as one of the most prolific money wasters. Who do you think is Tony Abbotts role model?

          While the mining industry may have been booming, other industry has been slipping, particularly due to the high dollar (a result of the mining boom).

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      • Coz:

        26 Jun 2013 9:00:45pm

        Mag: Where on earth did you get those figures from, obviously not from reliable sources. Wait you probably believe the media is a reliable source. Check your facts before using them as an agrument

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    • gnome:

      26 Jun 2013 7:03:48pm

      Gee Paul- you left the "d"out of undermining. Have you been taking lessons or something?

      Keep it up and soon you will be able to get a real job and start voting conservative.

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    • Val Marsden:

      26 Jun 2013 7:20:48pm

      Well said, Noel Conway; the press and the political commentariat have a lot to answer for.

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    • Amateur Observer:

      26 Jun 2013 9:31:31pm

      Nah, sorry Noel,

      Gillard has had tangle-feet this whole term. And for implementation she gets a C- at best.

      Not to mention the stabbing of Rudd in the back.

      Then nearly lost government.

      Immediately broke her word on the carbon tax.

      Next she gave the government a seedy odour by sidling up to Thompson and Slipper.

      Then she gave us a bit of a rude shock at her callousness and lack of integrity when she tore up the signed agreement with Wilke.

      Her prime talent seems to have been working her way to the top of a political food chain by cold and calculated manouvring.

      But once at the top you have to actually govern well, and that's not happened.

      Don't blame Annabel, she had nothing to do with taking down Gillard. She did it all herself.

      So, when is Turnbull going to challenge Abbott???

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    • mt :

      26 Jun 2013 10:18:56pm

      Well said Noel. It is a pity that the Age gets to call the shots in politics. And for weeks all any media including the ABC could go on about was the leadership. Polls which will be shown to be as manufactured as any in the Obama election.

      As for the independents - bring more on - sick to death of both pathetic parties that act like they are in primary school rather than representing their electorates.

      Kevin Rudd - no bigger liar than Julia but let's wait to hear what Alan Jones has to say - that's all that matters.

      I find Australia about as democratic as any 3rd world dictatorship. Let's wake up tomorrow to see who is in charge. It is truly embarrassing to live here sometimes.

      Lest we forget how Turnbull saboteuged the Republic we should have had. Then who was PM would have mattered as much as who is US Speaker of the House. Name anyone? Thought not.

      As a deceased Packer would say though, Labour hasn't spent enough time in the wilderness. Didn't get it then.

      Keating was the only real Labour person that interested me and gave any credibility to the party. Gillard should take some comfort if they try to make her sound as unpopular as him. Or as much a reformer as Whitlam.

      so what now - bring on Clive Palmer's party! RIP Labour

      And at least Tony Windsor is gallant and a gentleman.

      Party hacks and faceless men could learn something from him.

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    • Jo Muller:

      26 Jun 2013 10:30:56pm

      Thank you Noel, I fully agree. I have the impression that the media felt so embarrassed that they had missed a prime minister fall, that made sure it would not happen a second time. And the created a self fulfilling prophesy.

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    • Merlin 23:

      26 Jun 2013 11:03:16pm

      Last time I checked TA wasn't in power and wasn't the PM. How can he be called to account?

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    • Julie Lyford:

      26 Jun 2013 11:32:03pm

      Thank you Noel. This is the best synopsis of the way the media have behaved and derailed what should be a mature debate about policies and the future. It is a pity that the need to be caustic and ?humorous overshadows the need to report the real issues. Today we lose more than we know.

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  • Catherine:

    26 Jun 2013 3:23:20pm

    It's called loyalty. He aligned himself with Julia Gillard and has stuck with her ever since. Members of the Labor Party could take a leaf out of his book.

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    • George:

      26 Jun 2013 9:37:46pm

      Too true. It's the members of the Labor Party who are just trying to save their skins. Party hacks who do not have an ounce of integrity or original thought or the ability to think things through for themselves. At least this election will get rid of some of them.

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  • Colin:

    26 Jun 2013 3:24:06pm

    True. But Windsor has paid dearly for his role as political king-maker. History will judge him poorly.

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    • Coz:

      26 Jun 2013 9:04:29pm

      We are not judging him poorly at all. The local polls already showed that Tony would have held his seat (abeit with a smaller margin). He will be sadly missed as the outstanding Independant, who looked after his electorate and who always had time to help those that asked.

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    • Lucyb:

      27 Jun 2013 5:34:39am

      I doubt that very much. Tony Windsor has faced a very difficult set of circumstances in Parliament, and in my view in his role as an Independent MP has behaved with great integrity at all times. It is so easy to judge others when you do not walk in their shoes.

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  • John:

    26 Jun 2013 3:25:21pm

    "Mr Windsor's intimation today that he would pull the pin on the Labor Government altogether if the Caucus tips out Ms Gillard".

    Yep, Annabel in you eyes he would have made a good soldier for General Tadamichi Kuribayashi in the battle for Iwo Jima, only pulling the pin would have meant blowing himself up together with a few yanks with his hand grenade.

    Unfortunately others may not see him in the same light as a do or die hero as in this hypothetical case. They see him as a measly coward that quits his electorate by chickening out of the next contest when he knows deep down he fought on the wrong side and he would lose miserably. And to boot, a snarky gossip that has done nothing but try and destroy Tony Abbott who has never ever lowered himself to Windsor's level.

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    • Joe Blow:

      26 Jun 2013 6:59:12pm

      Actually, from viewing Tony Windsor with deep suspicion I have become an ardent admirer both of his independence and sensible approach to key issues of politics and principle. The issue of loyalty to his decision to support Gillard (which was far from unqualified) illustrates that he does what he says he will do. His stance on other issues, whether I have agreed with it or not, has been reasoned and free of hyperbole. Good on him.

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    • PDP11:

      26 Jun 2013 9:04:46pm

      Believe Tony Windsor is going out on medical advice. By your logic, he has to kill himself not to be a coward. Pointless standing if it is going to kill him. Hope he enjoys a long, healthy retirement. I expect history will treat Tony Windsor relatively kindly but the same won't be said about Labor.

      Seen a few governments crash and burn starting with McMahon then through Whitlam, Fraser and Howard. All these governments did it to themselves and were booted out by the electorate. The incompetence of Labor with Rudd/Gillard/Rudd turmoil now followed by dummy spits by some other cabinet members is pathetic.

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    • Schmalz:

      26 Jun 2013 11:08:28pm

      Good on you John. I agree with you. I can recall with great clarity that time when Windsor lowered himself and stood in front of posters calling the holder of our highest political office a 'witch' and containing the word 'bitch' on fire. He has always sunk that low. No, we need people like Abbott who will stand by personal conviction rather than adhere slavishly to party ideology. So once again, good on you John, keep putting lots of thought into your posts.

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  • Alison Cann:

    26 Jun 2013 3:25:57pm

    From the hot air of parliament we have cold winds that blow in and out and in every direction. They blow hard the many blow hards in there with blows out from the mouth of the Opposition, but there are others Independent and different as Tony's winds are solid, honest, loyal and true blue.

    Tony Windsor will walk out tall with many a story to tell and many of his constituents will cry a tear or two of what he endured in there in the hot rarified air of The House.

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  • Mark O:

    26 Jun 2013 3:27:12pm

    Labor is an absolute lost cause. I live in the seat of Adelaide and the brochures are instructive.

    Kate Ellis sent me one. No mention of the Labor Party, her colleagues or the PM It was printed primarily in blue. At least she tried to stand on her record.

    Federal Labor Senator Alex Gallacher sent me one. No mention of the Labor party (or his own name except as the authorising party), printed in yellow and black and deriding Tony Abbott in what amounts to a scare campaign over GST.

    It is clear it is every man or woman for themselves. Even Labor does not want to be associated with Labor!!!

    This says so much about these Laborites and their convictions that I cannot even begin to state my antipathy towards them. Get rid of the bloody lot of them and let the adults have a go.

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  • peter of mitcham:

    26 Jun 2013 3:28:50pm

    Shame on the ABC and Emma "Is Gillard gone yet" Griffiths. It's 1530 hrs on Wednesday and Julia Gillard is still PM. I mean emotive terms like "dump Gillard" and "Oust Gillard" prove conclusively the immaturity and unprofessionalism of Griffiths and her ilk. If it happens it's a spill. Julia Gillard knows what's up. Kevin Rudd knows what's up. If the party says you're no longer leader then that's it. Why tart it up like it's breaking news?

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    • Greg:

      26 Jun 2013 6:47:35pm

      Hi Peter, its now 18:45 and shorten has shifted his support to rudd. Gillard is now gone.

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    • Tony:

      26 Jun 2013 7:33:12pm

      It is 7.30pm and Gillard is Gonski! Emma was only a couple of hours early. Not bad for an ABC journo considering the ABC still hasn't read the Australian site and updated their headline.

      MAybe the ABC are in mourning and can't bring themselves to publish the result?

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      • jimd:

        26 Jun 2013 10:04:29pm

        Gee Tony that Gonski joke is as hilarious as it is original.

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      • luke warm:

        26 Jun 2013 10:49:09pm

        Why would the ABC update because of what The Australian says? is the ABC now owned by Murdoch, or have they taken to publishing the same kind of lies?

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      • cloudie:

        27 Jun 2013 12:15:49am

        Are you serious? Alongside the Murdoch journos, there's probably been none who have worked harder to influence opinion against Julia Gillard than the ABC journos. I've noticed the Opposition has been a bit quieter the past couple of months - it's because it well and truly handed over the baton of negativity, irrelevance and manipulation to the capable hands of the media - ABC and otherwise. The ABC journos were hellbent on getting Rudd back in and they've managed it. It will be interesting to see the Opposition go to town on their man with the truckload of ammunition they've got to fire at him. Labor have lost a lot of support with this move - mine included. My respect for ABC journos has plummeted as well.

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  • maddoga:

    26 Jun 2013 3:32:50pm


    There is one thing for certain ,if Gillard is replaced by Rudd all of the LNP supporters voting for him in the polls will disapear and Rudd will be put in exactly the position he deserves on the reserves bench never to hold the leadership for more than 3 months.

    I am a Labor voter and a Rudds party of weak and gutless men will not see my vote it will go to independent or the greens who I don't like .

    Rudds popularity will last as long as it takes to regain the leadership if it should happen.

    My hope is that sanity will prevail and they will have the balls to stick with a leader who is strong and will not bow to a mob of sooky men. Good Luck Julia!

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 6:57:17pm

      I think Rudd is a phony and a dud but the support for him on these pages is genuine. I do not believe it will last but there is no way in hell I would support him ever taking part in government again, even if it was to get rid of Gillard. I'd be surprised if Coalition supporters were responsible for boosting him. Haven't seen or heard anyone boasting of it anyway.

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    • Tony:

      26 Jun 2013 7:34:10pm

      Your hopes have been cruelly dashed. Now it is your turn to give Rudd exactly what he deserves.

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  • OUB :

    26 Jun 2013 3:34:18pm

    I very much doubt One K Rudd Mark II would be relying on Mr Windsor (a ready dispenser of character assessments BTW) for anything like six months as PM while he parades his new clothes, releases a slew of new policies and proves he really can manage men, women and others.

    Mark II would push Windsor away from the pin and pull it himself. He would then run laughing hysterically in his quest for an audience to embrace. About which time the audience will be backing away with concerned looks on their faces.

    I wish Labor supporters well in thinking up what they can say to help out their chosen party. Even conservative old me is feeling embarrassment for them. This shouldn't happen to anyone who cares enough to take an active interest in politics. Sorry guys (that's a non-sexist 'guys').

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  • nightwatchman:

    26 Jun 2013 3:37:14pm

    The Rudd supporters and traitors forget that Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshot had a written agreement with Julia Gillard and that if Rudd gets elected as leader they will possibly hand the government to Tony Abbott. The Rudd supporters are clowns and it is all about them and their snouts in the trough and not about the Party. I suspect that if Julia gets rolled there are a lot of people who will vote for the Greens or an alternative person or Party rather than vote for Kevin the Clown.

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    • C Ash:

      27 Jun 2013 6:23:45am

      Windsor and Oakshotte will be falling over themselves to align themselves with Rudd such is their hate for Abbott, They will do anything to make life as hard as possible for the LNP. Its a good thing that they will be gone at the election, all they did was inspired by their desire to hurt the LNP and all else was irrelevant.

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  • crakeka:

    26 Jun 2013 3:37:17pm

    Annabel I think you misunderstand.

    All Windsor is doing is stating the obvious.

    If there is a change of leadership the election will be held sooner rather than later.

    The constitutional implications of a change of leadership at this stage have been well canvassed in the media.

    Both Windsor and Oakeshott will be great great losses to the integrity and civility of parliament.

    Every day by demonstrating the vast difference between representing an electorate and representing a political party they have given an insight rarely seen into truly representative democracy.

    How sad that vested interests have successfully, deliberately, and with malice aforethought, staged an inaccurate, sustained and vituperative assault on these two men.

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  • Ruby and Bella:

    26 Jun 2013 3:41:14pm

    Tony Windsor has represented our electorate for 22 years. He supported the Government in the current hung Parliament and also supported the LNP State Government in Nick Griener's time. Not many could attest to that. Above all though he has been a prime example of what it means to be an Independent and should be commended for his great service to the electorate and the country. His length of service is a testament to that.

    Kindest regards

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    • A happy little debunker:

      26 Jun 2013 7:09:04pm

      Having met both Mr Windsor at the Regent Cinema (in Tamworth) and Peter Andren (now deceased) at the Australia Cinema (in Orange) and having lived in both electorates I do have respect for these valued independants.

      But I also disagree with Mr Windsor's choice at the last election. I suspect it was based more on a personal loathing of Tony Abbott than of actual issues of governence.

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      • Tess:

        26 Jun 2013 8:32:50pm

        You were not part of the negotiations so you can only accept that they made their choice for good reasons.

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        • jimd:

          26 Jun 2013 10:10:28pm

          No, unlike so many other anonymous nobodies on these forums AHLD, knows everything about the "independants" and everyone else in federal politics Tess. We need to take heed and our country will be a better place.

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    • jenni:

      26 Jun 2013 7:11:24pm

      Windsor as well as Oakshott at long last saw the writing on the wall and obviously to save some face have jumped ship early.

      It doesn't matter who the Prime minister will be after tonight the Labor brand is well and truly on the nose in this country and it will get the biggest walloping ever at an election.

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      • Mike 1:

        26 Jun 2013 11:09:00pm

        I would not be so sure jenni, The chickens aren't hatched yet.

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  • mr mauricio:

    26 Jun 2013 3:42:18pm

    Tony Windsor would have made a great Prime Minister-a man of wisdom forethought and principle.The possibility that a court jester like Barnaby Joye could replace him and be Deputy Prime Minister does not say much for the wisdom of the ordinary Australian people who think that is a step forward!They will not be able to step forward as they will have comprehensively acted against their own interests and shot themselves in the foot-as the assets and wealth of the country is directed towards the super rich who have funded the campaign of the LNP and own much of the media which has convinced them they never had it so bad!!

    There is no economic indicator to support that belief.

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    • gabrianga:

      26 Jun 2013 10:46:08pm

      I thought these off the shelf drugs were banned.

      Labor had no problems seeking and accepting large, large donations from the mining industry including Hawke and Keating Governments who even welcomed uranium money whilst barring further uranium mining.

      Windbag Windsor who opposes mining but sells his land to a mining company would make a good Labor PM.

      Riddled with hate egotistical narcissistic Yes. Mr Windsor would make a great Prime Minister.

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  • Ted:

    26 Jun 2013 3:44:05pm

    My opinion of Mr Windsor is one of high regard for mature, adult behaviour in a house of spoilt children. He will be a loss, unlike some of the others who will go at an election.

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  • mick:

    26 Jun 2013 3:44:31pm

    this country will be much better off without this traitor to his seat and clear coward in the end by running away to avoid scrutiny and facing the wrath and anger of his constituents. One thing is clear that this single action by this coward to support the socialist labor/greens parties betrayed the trust that the voters of new england placed with him who were clearly expecting a conservative approach. Its these bastard acts by politicians that make you want to hide the faces of our children and ask them to turn away. Truth, honesty and respect for your constituents was discarded and ego, greed and revenge drove him into the arms of Labor. This treachery will poison the well for future independents as voters will fear they will "pull a windsor" and stab them in the back.

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    • George:

      26 Jun 2013 9:44:43pm

      Mr Windsor is not a traitor and you bandy about words without careful consideration. He is not a coward. A coward would have chosen the easy path. Instead Mr Windsor chose a difficult path because he weighed the policies and promises of Gillard and Abbott and picked the one he thought most beneficial to his country and electorate. Your words are illconsidered and malign a man of integrity. Obviously you do not understand the meaning of the word.

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    • grump3:

      26 Jun 2013 9:55:23pm

      Actually Mick, I strongly suspect they've pulled out as they fully realise the futility of attempting to achieve anything constructive once Mr NO starts swinging his wrecking ball following the election.

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    • Lucyb:

      27 Jun 2013 5:41:17am

      The voters of New England elected an Independent candidate not a Conservative one - Tony Windsor can hardly be blamed for acting as an Independent MP.

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    • Grover:

      27 Jun 2013 12:07:46pm

      He may well be a conservative, but he is NOT a member of either the Liberal or National Parties. As such, he had zero obligation to side with them in 2010. He simply made a decision that he felt was best for Australia and his electorate.

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  • Lee of Brisbane:

    26 Jun 2013 3:48:44pm

    Very succinctly put Annabel. I am of the view that both Windsor and Oakeshott, and, Katter and Wilke, for that matter have all been true to their words and operated honorably in representing their views and themselves. Windsor has been particularly stoic and supportive of Julia Gillard. His opinions of the other side are not so gracious and that in itself says a lot about him as a person. He seems to genuinely care about the direction of Australian politics. Conservative or not, the LNP under the present lot is not deserving of his support and he openly stares his admiration for Julia Gillard. I think the parliament is much poorer for his departure.

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  • OUB :

    26 Jun 2013 3:54:34pm

    Anyway why do they have to stage these inconveniences hours before State of Origin? Do politicians have no understanding of their relative importance in Australian culture? (CTB!).

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  • Nat:

    26 Jun 2013 3:57:19pm

    It is a great pity that Tony Windsor and the other Independents were not able to broker some meaningful changes to the Agricultural Policy void.

    A spiralling Aust $, a Live Cattle Export Ban to Indonesia, unrelenting drought and no meaningful policies to fill the void is an absolute disgrace and has left manufacturing and agriculture in a parlous state. These are the sectors that can revitalise our economy and maintain our standard of living. The Boom and Bust syndrome is alive and well under this Government and the problem is that they just don't care and are not prepared to do anything about it. They are hellbent on spending money they do not have and are never likely to get.

    What is the sense in having a Carbon Price with no meaningful research work to sustain it?

    Regretfully Tony Windsor who did bring some sense to the CSG Debate and at least tried to protect our artesian water now finds himself aligned to a Government that has brought the Nation to the edge of an abyss and in the process has turned itself into an unmanageable shambles.

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    • luke warm:

      26 Jun 2013 11:03:30pm

      Kindly explain how Windsor or other independents were responsible for the dollar going up? Or the drought? And the unregulated cattle industry was responsible for the live cattle bans - trusted with the responsibility of seeing that animals were treated humanely they failed.

      The fact is that farmers are heavily subsidised in this country by governments of both persuasions. Did they pay for the Snowy scheme and all the other dams which created their wealth - NO. The Ord alone has cost the taxpayer over $1.2 Billion since 1959 and has returned less than 1% of that in tax. Farmers- agrarian socialists, always looking for a handout when times are tough - always unwilling to support local manufacturing - they looked on and laughed when the clothing industry was destroyed - and bought imported Toyotas rather than locally made vehicles. RM Williams boots now made overseas.

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  • Long Huynh:

    26 Jun 2013 3:57:52pm

    Rod Oakeshott and Tony Windsor are quitting politics. What's a big loss to Australian democracy!

    Although performing as a minority government, the current government under Julia Gillard leadership has achieved many positive policies and reforms that lead Australia to prosperity. Without the cooperation and the contribution of ideas of both Windsor & Oakeshott, these achievements wouldn't take place. This highlights positivity, objectivity, and cooperation are the main input ingredients to a democracy system in order to produce the outputs that improve social welfare for the whole nation and not for any particular groups. This also proves that equality in a democracy must include the political rights of minorities

    With positivity, objectivity, and cooperation, Oakeshott and Tony are the independent politicians who actively perform their representative functions to reduce the domination of the major parties and to enhance negotiation. They have contributed to a better approach in the formulation of policies that is more equal and efficient. This approach is based on the contribution of ideas rather than the competition in interests.

    My deep respects and appreciations to you Tony and Rod.

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  • James:

    26 Jun 2013 3:59:57pm

    When you think about Tony Windsor retiring at the next election, just say these five words out loud: "Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce".

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  • belzie:

    26 Jun 2013 4:00:50pm

    "susurrus" ...had to look that up...nice.

    Enjoyable piece, thanks Annabel.

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  • Kangaroo Edward:

    26 Jun 2013 4:03:32pm

    Every one knows that National Party country members always get dudded by their big end of town mates in the Liberal Party and do their master's bidding for the dubious distinction of having the Deputy P.M. title for what that is worth. Knowing this Mr Windsor was shrewd enough to know he had a better chance of getting his bread buttered by some one who would keep their promises and shock horror, that someone turned out to be Julia Gillard P.M.!

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  • Ted:

    26 Jun 2013 4:06:24pm

    I still don't know whether Tony Windsor dislikes Kevin Rudd's policies and/or personality. Maybe he just remembers what a lot of people seem to have forgotten and that is that a lot of people abandoned Rudd when he was last in power and a lot of the acheivements of the Labor Gov't would have been lost if he hadn't been removed.

    Many of the acheivements will be lost anyway once Abbott comes to power, many people having also forgotten what Abbott was like when last in government.

    Who could blame Windsor for leaving. Maybe I'll join him.

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 7:02:01pm

      Laurie Oakes this morning reported Windsor disparaging Rudd as a windbag. So perhaps Windsor isn't just posturing when he misdecribes his agreement as being with Gillard. Surprised me, considering Hawker's relationship with both men.

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  • GraemeF:

    26 Jun 2013 4:07:03pm

    Windsor was an asset to Australia, not just his electorate. He dropped the Nationals as a party because they were untrustworthy backstabbers who were in bed with the party of big business who would sell their grandmothers to make a profit or get power.

    He was a true conservative unlike the rat bag right wingers who make up most of the Coalition.

    When there was a hung parliament he decided that Julia Gillard was a far more trustworthy set of hands to steer the ship of state. This has been proven correct (with his assistance) as the economy has weathered the GFC with the envy of the rest of the world. On the other hand, Abbotts mob have had the longest dummy spit in history. An extended tantrum of petulance for having been beaten by a girl and went on a rampage of destroying toys so no one could ever use them again.

    You and me would call those toys names like 'consumer and business confidence' which he has destroyed by lying about the state of the economy and respect towards the Federal Parliament of Australia that he has destroyed with lies and smears and gutter tactics.

    No doubt both Windsor's and Oakshott's electorate with be filled with cookie cutter politicians who will not rock the boat for the true rulers of the Coalition, the billionare miners, the overpaid CEOs and foreign media owners.

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  • silk:

    26 Jun 2013 4:07:15pm

    "Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are more closely identified with the Gillard Government than many of that Government's actual members."

    Yes, they are inept also, they put their personal beliefs ahead of the people of this nation. They retire because their electorates will simply not vote them come election day.

    Cool story though Annabel, as usual you ignore reality and introduce the Grimms brothers version of same. Cutting edge stuff this, knitting needles and all :)

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    • George:

      26 Jun 2013 9:50:09pm

      What a load of tosh. They did not put their "personal beliefs ahead of the people of the nation". How else were they to come to any decision if they did not make up their own minds. Just because they did not do what you wanted doesn't mean they put personal beliefs ahead of the national interest. And they were not inept. Your reasoning is sloppy in the extreme. Apparently, you would rather that clown Joyce be the member for New England. Have you watched Joyce on Q&A. Embarrassing is too mild a reaction.

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  • shane:

    26 Jun 2013 4:10:28pm

    I'd say Windsor the turncoat coward voted against the suspension of standing orders today. The reason the dude is leaving is because he knows he will be smashed up here come September.

    Going by the comments on fb and elsewhere, the country would welcome an early election and put an end to this mess called Labor.

    Think we've just about had enough!

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    • JAMES G.:

      26 Jun 2013 6:35:39pm

      Yes, it says a lot about the character of both Windsor and Oakeshot they know they have little chance of being re-elected so they haven't got the guts to stand. They should apologise for giving Australia the worst Government in our history.

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      • Jonathan:

        27 Jun 2013 12:51:56am

        Actually polls indicated Windsor would have likely won if he had not chosen to retire. Oakeshot not so much.

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  • Bighead1883:

    26 Jun 2013 4:10:30pm

    Three decent politicians retire,Windsor,Oakshott and Crook.The rest swill on.I wish it was the other way around,with the rest retiring leaving the three decent ones.

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  • Trulie:

    26 Jun 2013 4:14:53pm

    I find it an object lesson that a decent man with no caucus or other impediments chooses to back Julia Gillard. It is a pity her own party is so wracked with different influences and motivations.

    It would appear that this will not be enough to get her to term however, and I think popular opinion will let Rudd have his head. I hope he can live up to expectation because Labor will stay even longer in the wilderness if he fails.

    Mysogeny rules.

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  • Chris Whitten:

    26 Jun 2013 4:15:18pm

    A very sad day.

    So many good quality people leaving parliament in September.

    Tony Windsor always seems to represent the voice of reason.

    The thought of no Windsor, no Gillard (showing my colours), a brief return to wrecker Rudd, and then on to the main event Tony Abbott, fills me with dread.

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    • lance karbuncle:

      26 Jun 2013 7:00:47pm

      Chris Whitten,

      I agree with your sentiments entirely. It is indeed discomforting to think that we could have a media "tart" (K Rudd), or a man who cannot string more than three word slogans together (Abbott) as our next Prime Minister. With Abbott it will be a matter of "hold on to your hats" because we are in for a rough ride.

      It might be time to look to a mass exodus to New Zealand (if they will have us). They may well query our intellect for our electoral folly.

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    • Lynne Sheen:

      26 Jun 2013 9:04:40pm

      If the result of all this is that an Abbott-led government is what Australians want, then I am ashamed to be Australian. It means that the majority of us don't care about climate change, about quality of education, and about contributing to the global challenges on the environment. What are we?

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  • dean :

    26 Jun 2013 4:16:04pm

    Listening to Rob Oakshott or Tony Windsor for any more than 60 seconds is extraordinarily painful.

    They have convinced themselves that they are the gatekeepers of good policy. They are not.

    They do not hold a mandate yet they clearly believe they are doing Australia a favour by holding a broken government in power.

    Annabel is right - they will be remembered above most Labor members as the people who enabled Labor to damage this country like no other.

    Their cutely announced retirements robs Australia of seeing these two absolute self centred morons removed by the people.

    The fact that we will be paying for their retirement when they have been largely responsible for damaging the retirements of so many hard working Australians is gutting.

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    • jimd:

      26 Jun 2013 10:17:55pm

      "Annabel is right - they will be remembered above most Labor members as the people who enabled Labor to damage this country like no other. " In what part of the article does "Annabel" say this Dean or were you reading the article in some parallel lunar right universe?

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  • Tony:

    26 Jun 2013 4:17:23pm

    All of which begs the question "What exactly was the deal she made with them?"

    Wouldn't we love to know exactly what it was that has kept them so tightly welded on?

    It will be truly wonderful if, through one of the various inquiries that are sure to eventuate, we finally get to know the truth.

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  • Eileen:

    26 Jun 2013 4:17:59pm

    Tony Windsor has been the moral compass of the Parliament. I sincerely hope any health problems he is experiencing are sorted out, and he thoroughly enjoys his retirement. As for his constituents, my thoughts are with you if Barnaby Joyce is to be your representative, as entertaining as it will be for the rest of us.

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  • Barry:

    26 Jun 2013 4:24:00pm

    Well said Annabel. A man of integrity who will be missed from the government.

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  • Marilyn:

    26 Jun 2013 4:29:10pm

    Yes but Annabel even today he doesn't understand that the refugee convention is the law and that the parliament has agreed on numerous occasions to uphold it.

    Then they throw it in the bin and he and Oakeshott helped to deliver the current brutally cowardly nonsense.

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  • Big Ben:

    26 Jun 2013 4:30:54pm

    Tony Windsor is an excellent judge of character; in fact he is an all-round good Aussie bloke. The more I see and hear him the more I like him. Tony's decision said so much about Tony Abbott. In fact Tony Windsor's choice was an almighty roar that sounded something like "I would not touch Tony Abbott with a twenty foot barge pole with a bottle of Toilet Duck on the pointy end". Can I be accused of embellishment here? Maybe, but what I can't be accused of is getting the underlying reasons behind Mr Windsor's decision wrong.

    Now go ahead and do your worst all you card carrying blue rinse jockeys. I'm looking forward to reading your totally blinkered reaction to the truth. I like to see things scripted because it is the only time, ostensibly, that you can be believed. LOL

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    • Greg:

      26 Jun 2013 6:54:58pm

      Yeah, gillard and her government is so great, her party is about to remove her as leader and PM because she cannot win the next election.

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      • George:

        26 Jun 2013 9:53:06pm

        That merely highlights the absolute moral cowardice of the parliamentary members of the Labor party. All they're interested in are their sinecures.

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    • JAMES G.:

      27 Jun 2013 8:48:23am

      You may find that people in Tony Windsor's electorate have a very different opinion of him than yours.

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      • Big Ben:

        27 Jun 2013 12:45:40pm

        Yea, really?

        The most recent poll I seen has Tony Windsor ahead. You really have got to stop listening to Abbott to feed your intellectual depth - you'll starve your mind which can lead to a blinkered understanding of the world. You know??.a far right unscripted promise empty of equity or empathy kind of starvation. Stay safe and well. BB

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  • Bludger:

    26 Jun 2013 4:34:14pm

    What sad, graceless rubbish from Annabel Crabb. Her valedictory statement on Windsor in such grubby, politicking terms.

    Tony Windsor was solid and honourable for more than 20 years in politics. Honest and played his cards as he saw them, so if he gets the 457 visa reforms, Gonski, carbon pricing over the line then it is because of merit as he saw them.

    He acted to form one Coalition minority government in NSW and one ALP minority government federally. Sounds balanced to me.

    As one person wrote nicely, he is one of the few politicians one would buy a used car from.

    And his rejection of the moribund and slimy National Party only shows he was not a political reptile slithering after a nice warm rock to bask on, but an honest worker in the political sphere.

    (I was in Rob Oakeshott's electorate and the same applies to him - it is idiotic to vote for the National Party in a regional electorate when there is a solid, honourable independent available.)

    The sneering, ignorant hatred he got will remain a stain on politics in Australia for a long time. But sadly inevitable now...

    He had no real choice in 2010, given the hatred he gets from the Coalition, the disastrous financial mess of the Coalition pre-election costings and Abbott's desperation coupled with his inability to negotiate.

    And even Coalition voters should thank him in avoiding giving the poisoned chalice of a minority government in difficult times to Abbott, who would have failed spectacularly.

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  • OUB :

    26 Jun 2013 4:35:28pm

    If Mr Rudd returns as PM can we have a referendum on renaming Parliament House as the Bates Motel?

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  • Alicej:

    26 Jun 2013 4:35:51pm


    As a voter, I'm ashamed of the following...

    'as a Prime Minister who is down to her knitting needles'

    Perhaps we might say Tony Abbott down to his

    swim ware' ( briefly).

    This country is becoming the low-life of world politics, determined to play down its achievements and prepared to rubbish everyone and everything !

    Ambition and shallow ideals are the present watch words ! and sorry I am.

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  • Joe Public:

    26 Jun 2013 4:36:05pm

    The rot set in for Gillard from the word go, when she stood up at a Labor Party election night function and congratulated these attention-monster independents on being elected. A Labor Party function, staged and paid for by the Labor Party, full of Labor election volunteers, and she uses it as a platform to cosy up to a disaffected old Country Party dinosaur like Windsor. So much for the Labor Party members who actually ran in and electioneered in the seats that these guys won. That tells you all you need to know about J.Gillard.

    Windsor gets kudos from the left for joining up with Gillard, but he didn't do it because he thought Gillard would be PM. He did it to stick one in the eye of the Nationals, because he had a beef with them. Gillard and Windsor are peas in a pod. They are both monstrous egotists who are prepared to wreak havoc on their own side of politics for the sake of their own personal ambition.

    And no - I ain't no Abbott Rabbit. I'm a lifelong Labor voter who is disgusted at Gillard for guaranteeing us 12-15 years of Abbott as PM.

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  • the yank:

    26 Jun 2013 4:37:02pm

    Two men of character, it will be a sad day when these two are no longer in parliament.

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    • JAMES G.:

      27 Jun 2013 8:54:14am

      Yes it will be a sad day for them, but not for Australia and especially their electorates who were about to kick them out for giving us the worst Government in our history. It says a lot about their " character " that they haven't got the guts to face their conservative electorates and be judged on their support for the Labor mess.

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  • Claudius PSeudonymus:

    26 Jun 2013 4:42:05pm

    All Aussies have been given a vivid demonstration of consequences of voting for Independents and Greens.

    Oakeshott & Windsor both won their seats with comfortable margins. But their duplicitous volte-face by supporting Labor into Govt has earned them the ire & wrath of voters despite the massive billions they wheedled outta Gillard for their electorates. It is extremely doubtful if voters are ever going to trust any "independents" again.

    And of course, both Windsor & that goose Oakeshott, KNOW that they will get a right bollocking if they run again. So they have both opted to "retire" from politics. What guttersnipe cowards they are. And will the pseudo-Greens Wilkie follow likewise knowing full well what his electorate is planning for him?? Let's wait & see...

    And elsewhere voters are also going to be equally leery abt voting the Greens given that when just 1 Greens MP outta 150 in Parliament got voted in, the entire nation had to pay a Carbon Tax in consequence.

    And since Labor is synonymous now with the Greens, it hardly makes any difference which of the 2 parties voters would vote for. They will get the same result anyways .... Labor.

    And here's the sad fact. Labor as a brand is now so toxic that the 40% odd swinging voters with no real affiliation to any political party will avoid it like Chernobyl.

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    • Fgt:

      26 Jun 2013 10:11:38pm

      You might be right in thinking that many people think the way you say, but they are wrong. Duped in fact.

      It is the case the Windsor and Oakeshott are ciriticised and hated even, but they shouldn't be. They have been subject to a deliberate and relentless hate campaign, and that sadly registers with some people in our poisoned political landscape.

      They did more for their electorates than the useless National Party ever would. I voted for Oakeshott in Lyne and NEVER regretted it. A very friendly, smart and dedicated man.

      It is patently silly to vote for the National Party if there is a rounded, dedicated and honest Independent available.

      You are wrong to see them as the problem. It was the major parties that were the problem, especially the LNP and its hacks in conning people with their attacks on the Independents doing what Independents have done many times.

      Including Windsor when he gave the minority government to the Liberal Party in NSW in 1991.

      To argue that people should only vote for one of two parties (Lib and NP are the same thing) is a terrible attitude that deadens democracy even further that it is dead now.

      Minority governments aren't uncommon, and to think they are dysfunctional is plain wrong. And remember Abbott would have had one too, if he didn't fail so miserably in trying to form one.

      Careful thought leads to the conclusion the Independents had no choice in 2010. Why would they go back to the useless National Party they left and who had been bad mouthing them from election night like the fools they are? Abbott's economic black hole (not a myth). Abbott's desperate bribery showing how unfit he was by revealing that power was all he wanted, not good governance.

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  • jmn:

    26 Jun 2013 4:47:20pm

    Perhaps Tony Windsor just has more integrity than some other politicians. Perhaps Julia Gillard has treated him with respect. Perhaps he feels that as part of the minority government so hated by journalists he's been able to achieve some worthwhile policy objectives.

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  • din:

    26 Jun 2013 4:54:19pm

    I would have preferred these two to stand again, just to see how their electorate felt they went.

    but its their call.

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  • bobtonnor:

    26 Jun 2013 4:57:07pm

    Sheild or sword, this is not an estoppel lesson, in my opinion Windsor is one of the finest men in this Parliament, he will be missed. Oakshott is also up there, to the people of Port Macquarie, there is, after the election a fine bloke looking for a not too stressfull job, you would have a hard time doing better, employ him.

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  • Think first...:

    26 Jun 2013 5:03:28pm

    To all those who have continued to say that the ALP's problems are all the media and LNP's making... have a look at what is happening now.

    This is another example of the ALP strealing defeat from the jaws of victory. Gonski is now yesterday's news (oh hang on, no its not even yesterday's news) its all about ALP internal issues again! again!

    Policy positions, economics and governance all amount to nothing if people have no confidence in the leadership of the party or that the person who is the leader has the confidence of the party.

    The outcome tonight is now irrelevant. The die has been cast. A large part of the LNP election campaigning will be based on the lack of support the ALP leader has, no matter who it is. There will also be the very strong argument that it matters not who leads the ALP now, they will not be the leader by Christmas (again, irrespective of who the leader is).

    The best scenario now for the ALP is to get the election over and done with - and start the process of rebuilding.

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  • lamenting the alp:

    26 Jun 2013 5:09:12pm

    tony windsor is a man of obvious strong morals and is not going to continue in politics

    however there is more at stake for the labor party they must think long term and if they are to be a force in politics for the next three years they have to consider public sentiment as i have said before gillard took a poisoned chalice

    it was poisoned in the way it was done unseating a first term prime minister who had considerable popularity and to compound that she has consistently made mistakes that have weakened her, people may argue that it is all rudd that has undermined her but she must be accountable for her mistakes which has surely had as much effect if not more then any undermining

    just a simple example announcing a policy before the relevant other country has agreed to it ie malaysia policy

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 7:07:40pm

      Hmm. Remember what propelled Windsor. Do grudges and ambition qualify as principles and morality?

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  • TheNewBoilerMakerBill:

    26 Jun 2013 5:13:08pm

    I am not surprised that Windosr and Oakshot are retiring: in seats where less than 11% of the electorates voted Labor/Green it is a despicable act; the support of Labor was a complete perversion of the fundamental principles of democracy where you are supposed to represent your constituents and especially when the majority have made their wishes so clear!!

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    • crakeka:

      26 Jun 2013 8:59:11pm

      What a load of old cobblers.

      In Lyne Oakeshott received 67 % of the vote to Nationals 37.3% after distribution of preferences.

      In New England Windsor 71.5% of the vote to Nationals 28.5% after distribution of preferences.

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  • lezlea:

    26 Jun 2013 5:14:12pm

    i'm with Tony...if Rudd gets in he'll not get my support this election. In his photos in Parliament today he looks so happy just to have caused so much disruption to the Gillard Govt. He is doing all this out of sheer revenge, not for the benefit of the Labor party or the nation.

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    • Trulie:

      26 Jun 2013 10:08:37pm

      As a female I am very proud of Julia Gillard, and even in defeat she was a warrior queen.

      I have no time for Mr Rudd, but I will not be handing my vote to Mr Abbott.

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      • MJMI:

        27 Jun 2013 12:35:59pm

        Me neither. I loathe Rudd and Abbott about equally although for different reasons. Fortunately for me I live outside Australia at present and can choose not to vote.

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  • patience radlett:

    26 Jun 2013 5:17:04pm

    Go Julia. This woman has more strength of character in her little finger than the likes of Rudd and Abbott have in their whole being.

    Congratulations to Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott for their stance. I can understand their decisions to exit from Federal Parliament at the next election. They must both be exhausted, as most of the electorate surely is. A hung Parliament is obviously no "cake-walk".

    Both fine men who have done a terrific job in difficult circumstances.

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    • MJMI:

      27 Jun 2013 12:36:46pm

      Than the likes of Rudd and Abbott put together could muster between them.

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  • TonyY:

    26 Jun 2013 5:18:39pm

    An utterly contemptible political rat, in my opinion. Annabel indicates, a rat with a strange streak of morality: once he is "bought", he stays "bought". Good riddance however, to a man who was wholly disloyal to his National Party majority electorate. May Australia NEVER see minority government again.

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  • Mark from Melbourne:

    26 Jun 2013 5:22:45pm

    Windsor is a pretty sage pollie and seems to play a straight bat. Sad loss for the nation when he and O leave parliament.

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  • M8x:

    26 Jun 2013 5:22:56pm

    It's refreshing to see someone like Windsor in the parliament unlike the eternally self serving pathetic Rudd.

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  • Joe:

    26 Jun 2013 5:25:52pm

    Tony Windsor has done a great job in his term in Parliament.

    The Australian people elected a hung Parliament. The Australian people elected a difficult Parliament. The Australian people elected a Parliament that was at times fractious.

    Tony Windsor didn't plan this. Tony Windsor didn't ask for this. Tony Windsor would have preferred it was different.

    But this was the Parliament that the Australian people elected.

    And for 3 very difficult years Australia has had remarkably good governance especially considering what has been happening internationally. The Parliament pushed through many ground breaking pieces of legislation not least of which are those associated with a more Equitable Education system and the Funding for Disability in Australia. This has been a Parliament that showed it cared about not only the average Australian, but also the little Australians.

    Although I didn't support you at the time in 2010, I was a very strong and upset critic at the time, I have now seen enough to now know that you made the right decision. Thank you Tony Windsor for choosing the right leader for Australia. And thank you Tony Windsor for helping to make this Parliament not only a workable one but remarkably a Parliament that achieved so much. These comments also apply to Rob Oakeshott. Thank you Rob Oakeshott.

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  • Nell:

    26 Jun 2013 5:32:05pm

    Rudd comes across as a progressive but has found his true constituency in the most reactionary conservative Catholic and Orthodox communities in the electorates of his backers. He has crowd-sourced from the men's clubs in the Serbian, Macedonian, Greek and Italian clubs and wooed the women from Chinese evangelical and Vietnamese catholic churches.

    In the end he represents the most masculinist, patriarchal elements of the Australian Labor Party. He has persuaded some feminists to support him because they believe he has a more humane agenda for asylum seekers. Interestingly, his caucus supporters do not eg Joel Fitzgibbon and others who have come out more hardline recently.

    Rudd is good at talking the talk. He has profited enormously from the upsurge in and openly expresed misogyny that has been let loose. Howard has gone down in history for unleashing racism for political profit and Rudd will go down in history for having unleashed sexism on an unprecedented scale. Tony and his mates will be the greatest benficiaries of this.

    It is not a genie that can be put back in the bottle so easily.

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  • Charles:

    26 Jun 2013 5:32:16pm

    It is a shame that Windsor and Oakshott have pulled the pin, as I reckon the voters of Lyne and New England were lining them up for an enormous clip over the ear for what they have done.

    Doesn't help to deprive the public of their whipping boys.

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  • ru4real:

    26 Jun 2013 5:41:26pm

    Tony Windsor has shown himself to be a man of principle, honesty and good faith, unlike Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. All I can say of Kevin Rudd's disgraceful behaviour in relation to keeping his word about not challenging Julia Gillard, is 'Et tu, Brute!'

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  • Michael:

    26 Jun 2013 5:44:46pm

    I'm no longer certain as to what it is that Julia Gillard has done such that she deserves her current hammering by the polls - and the media.

    It would be nice if everyone could place things in context - though I know that is difficult to do.

    Julia is vilified by her involvement in undermining Kevin Rudd. Justified, perhaps. Though it does need to be acknowledged that, when KR was deposed he was exceptionally unpopular with the caucus. The reasons have been loudly spoken so I'm not going to revisit them.

    The highpoints of KR's prime ministership were his apology to the Aboriginal people and his ratification of the Kyoto protocol. It does, however, pretty much stop there. His implementation of his education revolution (placing a laptop in the hands of every secondary student in the country) was a fiasco simply because he never provided any internet support for its implementation, nor any servicing of the computers as they had issues. His handling of the GFC leaves a lot to be desired. Then there is the cynical push for him to have a carbon emissions scheme through Parliament by a certain date just so he could go to Europe and hold the high moral ground that Australia was really doing something about Global warming. I could go on.

    Julia Gillard ultimately found herself to be the PM of a minority Gov't. Yes, she did say that there would be no carbon tax under any Gov't led by her, but that promise was made in the belief and hope that she would have a majority in the House of Reps. She didn't. She made a lot of compromises. She gave the appearance of going back on her word again and again and again. Yet, she had a minority Gov't to contend with - and a political assassin in Kevin Rudd sitting in her backbench.

    Given all this, she has done an absolutely outstanding job as PM. Our economy is still (even though I would still prefer it to be in surplus) in significantly better shape than all other Western economies in the world. This parliament has passed more legislation than any other in it's immediate history - and JG has done so by having to work with a minority and relying on the support of a Green member and two independents.

    Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott! Two men I have nothing but the highest respect and praise for. I'm deeply saddened that they're both retiring from politics because, as far as I'm concerned, they are the two best politicians in the federal house of reps. Both are men of integrity; both are men of honour. We may not all agree with everything they say or do - but at least they have honoured themselves, their electorated, and their word. They will both be sorely missed. I would have loved Tony Windsor to stay because I would have loved to see him short circuit the politica career of Barnaby Joyce.

    My only hope is that, if KR is re-elected as the leader of the Labor party, that both these men withdraw their support for the current Gov't and an immediate e

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  • deBoer:

    26 Jun 2013 5:55:05pm

    Windsor has been the epitome of self interest and self serving selfishness. He has ZERO interest in Australia as a whole and has spent his entire career serving his own interests and those of the constituents who voted for him. Just like Gillard, he does not govern for ALL Australians just his own minions.

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  • Frargo:

    26 Jun 2013 5:55:39pm

    There are adults in parliament and then there are two dummy spitters, Rudd and Abbott. Windsor made the right choice supporting the PM.

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    • Joe Blow:

      27 Jun 2013 1:32:17am

      Five Labor Ministers just resigned because their candidate didn't win ... dummy spitters much?

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  • Waterloo Sunset. 2014:

    26 Jun 2013 5:57:43pm

    Yes, Annabel, you have correctly identified the reason that Oakshott and Windsor have resigned.

    They have the perception that they are more wedded to Gillard, than even Shorten. Making it near impossible to garner enough votes, in the next election, to fend off derision and ignominy.

    Well, one hour, and a bit, to go. Will it be Kevin - Meetoo, or Gillard - strong but divisive?

    We wait agog.

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 7:11:28pm

      With Shorten switching to Rudd I presume it is all over for Gillard. But might still repair to the pub for confirmation.

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  • Frank:

    26 Jun 2013 5:58:04pm

    What a circus, Rudd the dudd is on the attack, Gillard the goose has stuck her neck out and the Independants have rushed in with veiled threats either way. All a lot of self interested and deceitfull politicians and a disgracefull show of democracy if ever there was one. Windsor and Oakshot (and a few others) have had many opportunities to support no confidence motions against the Government, but instead have put their self interest above all else. So it will be good ridance to them in any case, and the only sad thing about it is they will slink off into obscurity without being accountable in any way for their treachery. LABOR is a basket case and as the latest stoush between the Rudd and Gillard camps play out, the voting public is being dudded by having to wait 79 more days for their say on all of it. No amount of scaremongering, Abbott bashing or LABOR spin will change my voting intentions.....and that will be to vote to change my electorate to a politically advantaged swinging seat (by ousting the sitting LABOR member who one of Gillards staunchest lieutenants). No more Greens influence, no more selfish independants, just good Government in the wake of six years of LABOR waste and division.

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  • GRF:

    26 Jun 2013 5:59:43pm

    "Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are more closely identified with the Gillard Government than many of that Government's actual members"..... which is why it is completely pointless for them to contest the next election, as they so obviously recognise.

    Pity though, they might have been able to set records for the lowest vote for sitting members in Australian history. Perhaps they didn't want that mantle?

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  • Sarah C:

    26 Jun 2013 6:02:21pm

    I know that we should not speak ill of people who die or retire. However, Tony Windsor was the biggest disappointment in the current government. I don't blame him for choosing to support Labor to form a government. After all he had to chose one side and it was up to hin what side to chose. Contrary to many who believe that he should have supported conservatives because he was voted by a conservative electorate, I understand that ours is a 'representative democracy'; i.e. we elect a person to represent us. That means once we elect a person we delegate our democratic choice to that person and have no say in what that person do until the next election. Therefore, no one has a right to blame Tony Windsor for the way he votes or whom he supports.

    What disappoints me about Tony Windsor is his lack of morals and ethical standards. On so many occasions he has shown such nasty side of his character, I have never seen from any other politicians. Publishing the content of private discussions is as low as one can get. It is unethical and downright nasty. No hate towards anyone, can justify such unethical behaviour by our politicians.

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  • Andrew:

    26 Jun 2013 6:04:37pm

    ANOTHER leadership spill! Really!

    Never mind an economy in need of management as we transition out of the mining boom.

    Never mind the Gonski review and the important reforms that need to be discussed and debated.

    Never mind the NDIS and its rollout over the next few years

    Never mind the asylum seekers and the need for a better solution.

    These are the big issues, the issues that need intelligent and thoughtful responses, the issues that should be debated and argued and negotiated.

    Instead we get this!

    This is what occupies the brains of the Labor party - not to mention one massively overinflated ego from Brisbane. This is what they bend all their mental energy towards.

    A pox on you all!

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  • S Moon:

    26 Jun 2013 6:06:13pm

    While I would no more vote for a National Party person than fly to the moon I have appreciated Windsor and Oakeshott's efforts to act ethically. It would be good if a similar ethical practice was around in the media. I suspect that there would be no challenge to Gillards position if the media had not hounded us all for the last three years with seemingly endless talk about the next bid for power by Rudd. They have been doing the Liberal Party's work for them. Do they ever wonder if that is ethical? There is no lack of men in parliament who think they are the next best thing to God. In the past the media has often chosen to simply ignore them. Not his time though.

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  • MJMI:

    26 Jun 2013 6:07:49pm

    I know this might be hard for you to understand Annabel so pay close attention.

    Tony Windsor is 62. He is of that generation which was taught the values of honesty and loyalty. He keeps his word and calls it as he sees it.

    Life under Rudd or Abbott would be intolerable for such a person. Abbott has already said that we can only trust his word if it is written down. Howard had core and non-core promises. Rudd has treated us to 1,000 days of dummy spit while constantly undermining the electoral chances of those he claims.

    Why wouldn't he support Gillard? She, at least, has listened to him.

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    • OUB :

      26 Jun 2013 7:16:18pm

      I have heard those who know him describe Windsor as a hater MJMI. His behaviour has been consistent with that. I know people older than 62 whose grip on honesty and loyalty is rather loose. Best you don't lecture.

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  • Penguin:

    26 Jun 2013 6:07:53pm

    The Hon Windsor should keep his word. No support for K Rudd

    The PM Gillard will leave Parliament immediately if she loses. Thus K Rudd can be leader of ALP but not PM.

    Interesting days of our lives !

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  • din:

    26 Jun 2013 6:10:15pm

    Not happy that either Gillard or Rudd has to quit politics after the election if they lose.

    Gillard can retire on her previous salary as the PM, so its no loss for her, but labor needs someone who has the public trust, and who can take on Abbott. That's Rudd

    How can Gillard improve labor's vote when she remains as labor leader ?

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  • Gordon:

    26 Jun 2013 6:11:43pm

    I'm sorry his farewell speech has been overshadowed by another exKRuddescence of ALP infighting.

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  • Whomovedmycheese:

    26 Jun 2013 6:13:57pm

    These leadership issue is just a beat up from Rupert Murdochs News Ltd and MSM. Julia called it and Kevin is in? Rupert made them do it.

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  • Algernon:

    26 Jun 2013 6:15:40pm

    These fellows have delivered democray to this country.

    I now see that they resign and KRudd has forced yet another spill for the leadership AFTER they've resigned. It's no secret that I've been a Labor votor most of my life. I simply cannot vote for KRudd should he win. I cannot vote for someone else so unfit to become PM in Abbott. Hobsons choice.

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    • Joe Blow:

      27 Jun 2013 1:30:47am

      Yeah, a guy who devotes his spare time to saving lives, fire fighting, raising money for women's refuges and assisting in aboriginal communities, and a guy who has shown he can lead a stable, united party for more than 3 years is just so unfit to be PM, right?

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  • derro:

    26 Jun 2013 6:16:33pm

    This Labour Government has been all about itself and supported by 3 independents plucked from anonymity to effective shore up a Government doomed from day one. Good riddance to both !

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  • June Just:

    26 Jun 2013 6:20:12pm

    Tony Windsor is one very good advertisement for independence of points of view. His common sense and common touch have been a bright spot on theolitical landscape when the menof both Labor and Liberal have covered themselves in ordure that the rest of us have had to endure.

    Wishing Mr Windsor all the very best for his future. It is what he deserves

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  • rabbie:

    26 Jun 2013 6:30:21pm

    Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have acted with integrity throughout this term of parliament.

    Their integrity explains why they supported Julia Gillard rather than Tony Abbott.

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    • JAMES G.:

      27 Jun 2013 9:00:10am

      That's right, it's worked out well hasn't it? Thanks to their " integrity " we have the worst Government in our history.

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  • Andrew:

    26 Jun 2013 6:30:34pm

    Nice use of "susurrus" Annabel. I haven't come across that word since The Unbearable Lightness of Being!

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  • Peter:

    26 Jun 2013 6:35:13pm

    The real question is not one of support for Ms Gillard or Mr Rudd. The internal dealings are indicative of a larger malaise affecting Australian political life is that is anyone listening. The polls are showing that 71% of the australian population does not support Labor and 52% does not support the Liberals.

    The Circus in Canberra and the on-going cycle of poor policies translating into poor legislation. The anger in the electorate is tangible and Mr Windsor and Mr Oakshott are clever enough to see what their election chances are and have opted not to contest.

    Whatever the result tonight and whatever deals are done, in a 100 days the Australian public will have a chance to show their support or otherwise for the current parliament. I suspect the results will be not be pretty for many of the current sitting members.

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  • Stewart:

    26 Jun 2013 6:35:57pm

    Julia, Windsor and the rest, have now their 3 years in their respective roles. Julia's cynical challenge has nothing but upside for herself, her PM's pension now guaranteed by the 3 years and a day or so in the chair. What a bunch of self obsessed, cynical, wasters we will now be required to support till their dying day. What has happened to this country's leadership?

    On Rudd, I really don't care, but could one of the assassins PLEASE explain the reason for the depth of so-called hatred within the party. Is it nothing more than his wish to defuse the union clout within the party? Either way, Labor is doomed...I only wish I hadn't voted for them It was a bit like Whitlam's rise...only worse.

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  • temperance pledge:

    26 Jun 2013 6:36:17pm

    The following is a quote from a speech from then Foreign Minister Rudd. This speech was made on his resignation from this post on 22nd February 2012

    "But I can promise you this, there is no way - no way - that I will ever be party to a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people."

    Well, perhaps I do not understand what this person is saying, but - is he speaking with "forked tongue"? Surely, all of Australia is aware that Ms Julia Gillard, as an elected member of the House of Representatives in 2010 was appointed to the position of Prime Minister by the Labor Party caucus following her considerable skills at negotiation where she managed to gain the support of key Independents.

    Ever since then K Rudd seems to have had Ms Gillard in his sights. He will be remembered by many as the "Great Destabiliser". Not a man I would readily vote for if I was unfortunate enough to live in his electorate. This has indeed been a stealth attack - long in its execution.

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  • ntabc11:

    26 Jun 2013 6:36:23pm

    Mr Windsor is a true man of his word. His decisions are for the long term outlook of the people in his electorate. Pity I cant say the same about Mr Rudd and some of the Rudd supporters - short memories & self motivated all.

    Mr Windsor backed Ms Gillard because she too, was looking long term for all of us. Good luck and thankyou Mr Windsor.

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    • Joe:

      26 Jun 2013 7:11:08pm

      While Tony Windsor looked after his electorate, from where I stand he always put Australia first.

      Tony Windsor's first priority was always the interests of the nation.

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      • Waterloo Sunset. 2014:

        26 Jun 2013 10:52:36pm

        His electorate, yes. But the nation, no.

        It's partly his fault we're in this mess. He voted for Labor values, after spending much of his life as a conservative, intellectually.

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        • Joe:

          27 Jun 2013 8:22:54am

          Waterloo Sunset,

          What mess are you talking about?

          The mess Ireland is in?

          The mess Spain is in?

          The mess the US is in?

          The Rudd and Gillard governments have shielded Australia from these messes that are happening overseas. And no the messes in these countries were not created by excessive government debt. They created by excessive private debt that was transferred to the government balance sheet. And look at the problem yourself and you will find the excessive private debt in Australia was created under the Howard and Costello government.

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        • Waterloo Sunset. 2014:

          27 Jun 2013 9:17:07am

          I'll put it bluntly: the way that you 'might' understand: take away mining and were in recession.

          Do you understand now?

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        • Joe:

          27 Jun 2013 11:20:14am

          Waterloo Sunset,

          Take away government deficit spending as Abbott proposes to do and the Howard AND Costello housing bubble will burst.

          Followed by massive unemployment and the banks requiring a government funded bailout to help the banks with all their private debt.

          If you are struggling to understand have a look at Ireland.

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        • Waterloo Sunset. 2014:

          27 Jun 2013 12:45:05pm

          Ireland built hundreds of dwellings that couldn't be sold. If they had our influx of migrants,they could have filled them in a few days!

          Our market has floundered for 5 and a half years now, but is picking up now.

          I'll agree about the bubble; but it has largely dissipated. That is, despite people being unemployed, or on part time.

          The Irish problems are entirely different and linked to myriad problems. Some of them associated with The EU, and presumptuous expectations.

          Anyone who keeps blaming Howard, or Murdoch, is in deep denial of the Labor Parties poisonous policies, in my view.

          Nurture business and you nurture jobs.

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        • Not your average Joe:

          27 Jun 2013 1:57:57pm

          Waterloo Sunset,

          Our problems are surprisingly similar to Irelands before the GFC. A housing bubble built with money borrowed from overseas. The main differences are that Ireland has the EU to bail out. Australia doesn't have anybody. Another difference is that Australia has its own currency which means if things get bad our currency can depreciate to help exports and import replacement, but this is counter balanced by the fact that much of our private foreign debt is denominated in foreign currency, which means these foreign debts become harder to pay as our currency fails.

          And we will have to disagree about the state of the housing industry in Australia, if you look at the number of multiples of yearly average earnings to get a house over history and against other countries then I believe clearly we are in housing bubble territory. These prices are clearly unsustainable in the medium to longer term, the bubble will either burst at some point or we will need to inflate the economy (that is average yearly earnings) up to be more in line with long term trends on average housing prices/average yearly earnings.

          The LNP bleat on about the government debt of $300 Billion, but it is not a problem because it is small and it is almost entirely denominated in Australian currency. The debt problem in Australia is its huge private debt which was largely accrued under Howard and Costello.

          I agree with nurturing business but we need to nurture the right kind of business, not rent seeking businesses that rely on an ever increasing private debt to function. Rent seeking businesses were the type of business that were nurtured under Howard and Costello, because they made lots of money on the back of this ever increasing private debt, but in doing so they squeezed out the productive type businesses which we are going to need in the future to turn our economy around and provide desperately need jobs. Like the housing bubble we can either do this quickly and painfully or we can make it a slower adjustment. The US undertook this adjustment quickly after the GFC but they were able to engineer low gas and oil prices to help with their very painful recovery, something I think Australia will be unable to do.

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      • JAMES G.:

        27 Jun 2013 9:02:27am

        Well if he was putting the nation first we have to thank him for the ongoing farce that is the Labor Government.

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  • MrEd:

    26 Jun 2013 6:37:50pm

    Its absolutely gutless of Windsor and Oakeshott to pull the pin before their electorates can deliver them the kick they deserve for their behaviour over the last 2 and a bit years.

    Dont care which labor leader I kick out if they are both going to be gone after the next election, even better.

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  • Gaylene:

    26 Jun 2013 6:50:13pm

    Well the misogynists and blue ties have emerged in the ALP. Julia through transference tried to blame Abbott for hatred of women but this hatred emanated from the ALP itself. This is the most reactionary backward looking government that Australia has ever seen. It is total mysogyny that has brought down our PM from her own party. Why does the ALP hate women so much?

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    • Jane T:

      26 Jun 2013 10:10:01pm

      Have you really thought through that opinion? This allegedly misogynist and reactionary ALP caucus that conspired to bring Gillard down is the same group that elected her to the gig as the first female PM in the first place, and elected her to the job as deputy leader before that, under 2 different leaders.

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      • Tarzan:

        27 Jun 2013 6:35:54am

        Then it dawned on the caucus and the other faceless men that they had elected a woman as PM. The ALP mysogyny kicked in immediately that has caused our first female PM to be stabbed in the back by the blued ties of the ALP. Julia warned of this in a speech just last week. She could feel the hatred for herself from the ALP itself and the outcome is now obvious. Julia has been driven from PM and parliament by misogynists from the ALP.

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  • Ravensclaw:

    26 Jun 2013 6:55:30pm

    Wow, Bill Shorten, twice the betrayer now backs Rudd over Gillard.

    With Shorten in your corner you need two sets of eyes.


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  • BBar:

    26 Jun 2013 7:03:08pm

    The independents have been amazing. They have brought unusual honesty, intelligence and integrity to their role in Parliament. In return they have been treated with extraordinary abuse by people who do not seem to understand that they have taken their responsibility with immense courage and integrity. I am totally disillusioned by all our political parties, by the media that has made politics its plaything, by the disgraceful abuse heaped on our Prime Minister. If she is dumped in the next hour I will become a rusted on independent voter. I have concluded that political parties are conspirators against the community because they suppress freedom of thought, resort to PR management which pitches messages to 8 year olds and survive only because they provide an effective platform for ambitious people to deceive voters.

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    • Jane T:

      26 Jun 2013 10:27:40pm

      How can you be a rusted-on independent voter? In one election, the independent running in your electorate might be an old National Party hand like Windsor, in the next it might be an ex-Labor hack. One independent might be a socialist, the next might be a born-again Christian anti-gay nutbag. Or a single-issue overpopulation or flat tax crank. Or anything. You're saying you're just going to vote for whichever independent runs in your seat, regardless of that person's background, policies or beliefs? What if the only independent running believes strongly in everything that's anathema to you? You'll just vote for that person anyway, just because he/she is not a member of a major party?

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  • anote:

    26 Jun 2013 7:04:19pm

    The comparison between Gillard's comrades and Windsor are misplaced.

    Windsor is keeping to his agreement with Gillard and has had good words for her with respect to working with Gillard and her side of the agreement. Winsor also gave his opinion that Gillard has had an extra hard time for sexist reasons but that was not attributed to other federal Labor party members of parliament.

    So, it is not the same as standing between Gillard and her 'comrades'; that is, it is not behaving as a human shield against Gillard's comrades.

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  • Gypsy:

    26 Jun 2013 7:16:20pm

    I think I see a pattern here and on other opinion sites. The anti ALP/Independant comments generally have a beligerant and abusive tone. I find it shocking to read so many words of condemnation and hopes for nasty demise expressed towards people of dedication and conviction who are going about their job of governing this country.

    Shame on those people for such nastiness.

    Mr Oakshott and Windsor did not choose a hung parliment to work in.

    Mr Windsor has impressed me with his loyalty, commonsense and fairness. Others should take a leaf from his book.

    Best wishes to them and thankyou for your contribution to this hung parliament.

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    • Sack:

      26 Jun 2013 8:15:58pm

      Interestingly I am already taking a kinder view of them than I did a week ago. Maybe the dynamics of this parliament have had an influence on the way many of us think.

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    • Closet Romantic:

      26 Jun 2013 9:59:42pm


      Why do some people always have to say the other side is nastier than my side?

      It's not true both the haters and bigots on both sides are pretty vile the Labour people should always remember Belinda Neil and the comments she made to Sophie Mirabella, the LNP just need to remember Wilson Tuckey.

      To those who agree with them Oakshott and Windsor they are Heroes to those that don't they are villains it is that simple.

      For what it's worth politically I think they did the right thing by their electorate and got a lot for them, ideologically they betrayed their constituency which was right wing and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened at the elections.

      I also think they are smart cowards for not standing, I thought Oakshott was gone but Windsor had a fighting chance in a campaign that was going to get very dirty.

      I know you didn't use these words but calling this man noble who basically claimed that Tony Abbott w willing to prostitutehimself, inferred without proof that Gina Reinhart was bankrolling Barnaby (and he had done a similar stunt before on some other palimetarian basicly a lovely little smear using parliamentary privellage)was all a bit rich.

      I remember seeing him returned on election night Barnaby was on the commentary panel and was taking Tony Windsor for granted and Windsor savaged him on the other hand he treated Peter Costello with deference and respect, almost fear it was amazing to see him attack one and attempt to charm the other.

      The best thing that I can say about Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshhott is that they represented the best interests of their electorates which is job of our parliamentarians , but in doing so they did not necessarily represent the platforms on which they were voted for.

      The Gillard Government was perfectly legitimate and they had every right to do as they did it was the smart thing for them to do the LNP would have taken for granted so they got a huge amount of power and prestige and more influence than just being the representative of one electorate.

      Is this democracy ?

      I really don't know we don't want weathervane politicians butwe do want ones that at least roughly stand by the ideologies which we think they are standing under.

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  • Disappointed:

    26 Jun 2013 8:20:08pm

    Disappointed Windsor didn't have the ticker to face his electorate after his betrayal of them! However, I believe Ecuador is very nice this time of year.

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  • Forrest Gardener:

    26 Jun 2013 8:33:21pm

    Gillard gone and leaving parliament (if she sticks to her word for a change). So much for Windsor as human shield.

    Well done Labor. Even on his previous performance Rudd is a less bad option.

    Some voters will change their minds, but they will get it right. They always do!

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  • Mushroom:

    26 Jun 2013 8:40:00pm

    Tony Windsor is an idependant he cares only for Tony Windsor.

    This guy was no team player he did what he needed at any cost to others to get what he wanted.

    Tony Windsor was loyal to no one but Tony Windsor and should be remembered for what he is a selfish man.

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  • buttercup:

    26 Jun 2013 8:51:04pm

    You do Tony Windsor a great dis-service. Of all people, Windsor has been a fantastic independant member for New England and a purveyor of the absolute truth. He is a man of honor, well respected by people in his electorate and I noted his parting comment that "country people should not always vote the same" which I took to in more Independants.

    Barnaby Joyce and his big mouth will stand for National Leadership and will be a thorn in the side of every Liberal in Parliament. He will stage manage everything he can so get ready Annabel, see if he can cook (and who really cares if he can or cannot).

    The media have shown their true colors during the past three years and are just a frenzy of very untalented people supporting an Opposition Leader who cannot even produce one policy. If this is the best you can do then no wonder we are all not buying newspapers any more.

    So lift your act Annabel, do not put down a man of humility

    as honest as the day is long for your "take" on what he is like. At least get your facts right.

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  • Markkirra:

    26 Jun 2013 8:55:58pm

    Labor's chances will change now, not because they got replaced Gillard with Rudd but because they got rid of Swan, I mean the man can barely string a sentence together.

    The PM/Treasurer gig has always been a good cop, bad cop routine. Fraser had Howard, Hawke had Keating and Howard had Costello. Rudd and Gillard had Swan and he "ran dead" both times. Rudd and Bowen have a chance. Bowen will be the realist and tell us how bad everything is (we'll hate him) and Rudd will tell us he has a plan and give us hope (we'll love him), that's how it's always been, that's how it will be again.

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  • Barnesy:

    26 Jun 2013 8:59:48pm

    Windsor isn't protecting Gillard. He's been in government for 22 years and has had a gutful. He's been pondering this decision for a while.

    The 2 scenarios:

    1) Abbott PM, Windsor hates Abbott with a passion and Canberra would be an intolerable and toxic place for him.

    2) Rudd PM, Windsor has to put up with all of the behind-the-scenes rubbish.

    Windsor has had a gutful of the place, who can blame him? He has nothing left to prove.

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    • Forrest Gardener:

      27 Jun 2013 7:22:26am

      Barnsey, whenever the Labor leadership question bubbled to the surface, Windsor repeatedly said that his deal to support the government was an agreement with Gillard.

      That's protection, but in the end it wasn't enough.

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  • Brendan Scott:

    26 Jun 2013 9:10:36pm

    +1 for using susurrus in a sentence

    Frankly the media's coverage of this parliamentary session has been pretty shameful. You have collectively approached the issue of the session as if the parliament ought to be carved up between the parties, with debate having been completed behind closed doors.

    This hung parliament has been a godsend, not the horror it has been portrayed. Julian Assange for one would have been sold down the river without mention had it not been for the hung parliament.

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  • Simple Man:

    26 Jun 2013 9:23:02pm

    Another non- consequential filibuster article by the Crabb.

    This sort of like filibustering for the neo-journalist-thingies, or whatever we should call them now. Just spewing out stuff without must thinking.

    Shorten has to go as well, otherwise we will be back to the same.

    Union control must be broken.

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  • Gaylene:

    26 Jun 2013 9:29:11pm

    Vale Julia, you stood up for us but the misogynists of the ALP finally got you. The ALP cannot be trusted to look after our interests. Their pure hatred of us is now seen in its full light. The ALP culture of misogyny has no place for us in all their hatred.

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  • gordon:

    26 Jun 2013 9:31:40pm

    What a shameful lot you/we are. A good-hearted, courageous, intelligent woman has been politcally assasinated by a combination of a vicious opposition, a biased media and some less-than-courageous Labor MP's. History should and will judge Ms Gillards legacy with admiration, except that some history is written by right wing scribblers paid by Mr Murdoch'. Liberals will rattle on about debt, but they know deep down that Australia stands tall in the economic race with a triple A rating, low inflation and low unemployment, and one of the lowest government debts in the world.

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  • Babsie:

    26 Jun 2013 9:49:24pm

    Annabel do you suppose Tony Windsor new what was going to happen in the Labor Party this evening i would think Tony and Rob did and was not going to be connected to Kevin Rudd , well for the first time in 50 years i will not be voting Labor , to think the man that was ousted because of his behaviour towards his ministers is once again the PM and to all the media who relentlessly denigrated Julia Gillard and the two independents that supported her i hope i never see such unprofessional conduct again, I can understand the chase for a story like the reporters of the past ( Peter Harvey for one ) and obviously times change i suppose all we can hope is that the media have got what they want and can once again act with dignity and respect for our next female PM if any woman will have the courage to step up , It is a sad day for me as i thought Julia was doing an excellent job i wish her all the best along with Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott

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  • mick:

    26 Jun 2013 9:57:26pm

    I suspect Mr Windsor would have won election for New England again.

    He did what he thought was right and stuck to his principles. I am a Labor voter but I admire him.

    The choice was between him and some National party member who would support the

    conomic rationalism of the Liberals. The electorate will lose they will with Mr Joyce as their local mp

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  • Peter:

    26 Jun 2013 10:19:02pm

    I think tonights decision has clearly demonstrated the ever increasing power of electronic communications. As Kevin Rudd stated in 2010, he wasn't elected by the Labor caucus to lead the country, he was elected by the people. How many politiians have come out in recent weeks and finally acknowledged what everyone else in this nation believed, that is, if the caucus goes against the public opinion it will eventually have to pay. Texts, Tweets, Facebook and all the other mediums now available have played as much a part of this change as any other issue currently before our federal parliment. Technology has given the power back to the people and the result of tonights ballot proves this. This does not mean to take anything away from the Gillard administration and I will be the first to acknowledge that as a woman, PM Gillard was always destined for tough times and this will be reflected as a sad social milestone in this nations history. I hope PM Gillard is right when she says, it will now be easier for the next woman and then the next.

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  • Jason:

    26 Jun 2013 10:37:58pm

    Oh please all forget that Abbott would have done anything the be in power and the independents stopped this. If the greens and independents agreed withe Abbott it would have been a hung parliament in favour of Abbott. I'm not a favour if Gillard, particularly given her favour of religion against her athiest beliefs, but when a liberal minister says that ones regilious rights are more important than ones sexual identity I draw the line. The liberals say I will pay religious orginisations to discriminate against australians - happily because religion outweighs human rights

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  • IanM:

    26 Jun 2013 10:43:08pm

    Today we learn Windsor and his sidekick Oakshott don't even have the courage to face their electorates, unable to justify their actions to those they claimed to represent. Shameful ends to careers culminating in enabling the least popular, most disfunctional government for decades and permanently damaging the independent brand. New England and Lyne deserved better, much better than those two, but at least those electorates won't make the same mistake again. Roll on September.

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  • archg:

    26 Jun 2013 11:11:21pm

    Looks like the Pope will have a say in our politics, when Abbot

    and his cronies take over, most are catholics, GOD help Australia

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  • Eaton's Wyong:

    26 Jun 2013 11:40:34pm

    Windsor one of the best by a country mile.

    He and Oakeshott could not support anally fixated Abbott with money or honour...the missing years of Abbott's life are there for voters to view...the seminary?

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  • Paul:

    26 Jun 2013 11:47:07pm

    It does not matter if Kevin Rudd is now PM elect. It is time to toss all out including the independants and the greens. Problem is that Tony Abbott not good either along with his potential cabinet. Have no idea on who to vote for they are all bad.

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  • Reinhard:

    26 Jun 2013 11:50:54pm

    Human shield? More like a deserter, beaten only by Rob Oakshott and the Greens before him, all deserting Labor, with the Greens doing so only for the sake of a perceived populism

    That is exactly what happened tonight, it was a victory of populism over pragmatism

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  • AGB:

    27 Jun 2013 12:26:56am

    I tip my hat to all those who worked so hard at every level to expose Gillard's failings. Her and her rusted on were tough, but now it's time to take on a far more formidable opponent. Viva forever!

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  • Mad Masha:

    27 Jun 2013 12:29:19am

    Ted Mack was interviewed on ABC radio a few days after the 2010 election and predicted that both Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott would support Gillard for PM. The reason he gave was very logical - a Labour government would give them a better deal because a LNP government would still be hoping to oust them at the next election. Incidentally, Ted Mack said Bob Katter would support the LNP for the same reason - his seat has always been a Labour seat (except when held by a Katter). Having met both of them, I was surprised at how well they are across many issues. If they had stood for this election, I don't think the result would have been as clear cut as some of the posters think because, thanks to holding the balance of power, they have achieved much more for their electorates than a sitting Government member would have. After all isn't that what the electorate wants from its sitting member - a bigger slice of the "pie"?

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  • Keith Twyford:

    27 Jun 2013 1:19:41am

    Vale Tony Windsor: an honourable man, a practical chap who spoke the voice of the common man and woman, and a chap who seemed to cut to the heart of the matter. And from me, well outside his electorate, he would be a man I'd support and vote for. If only we could have more of such MPs, such MPs who speak straight and clear and clean and live by their promises.

    Tony, enjoy your retirement with your lovely wife, who you have known since kinder. You deserve a break and have done our country proud. Thank-you.

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  • Joe Blow:

    27 Jun 2013 1:36:02am

    What's happened to the 'big man' Windsor. Where's all the bravado gone? Wasn't he going to give Barnaby a thrashing? The penny has finally dropped that his electorate despises him. Both he and Oakshott sold out their electorates and are now too gutless to face them.

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  • Mark of melb:

    27 Jun 2013 2:01:51am

    Labor had lost my vote. Good luck in your future endeavor Julia.

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  • Mike A:

    27 Jun 2013 4:48:06am

    As an Australian, living abroad (Europe) for over 15 years, I am astounded at the inability of our people to see past their noses. Fortunately there do seem to be exceptions :-)

    The the economic model of the world is demonstrating itself to be fundamentally wrong. Europe heading into the abyss, jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and Australians are allowing themselves to be hoodwinked by someone jingling a shiny coin in front of their eyes.

    Retaining some of the insane mining profits to set up for post carbon, really investing in education and schools, avoiding an economic melt down (want to try it? I can tell you it's not fun), its hard to see where this hasn't been a top performance.

    To the money whiners, have you actually looked at what debt levels the rest the western world is running at? Have you seen the living standards compared to the national debts?

    Wake up and look around Australia! You'll see this government was about Australians, all of them!

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  • JustiWilliam:

    27 Jun 2013 5:10:03am

    Windsor and Oakshott weren't motivated by loyalty.

    They hate the Nationals and Windsor hates Abbott in particular. They also love the limelight and have made a lot of money participating on every committee around.

    Article trying hard to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Gillard commanded little loyalty because she never showed any.

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  • Richard:

    27 Jun 2013 5:37:55am

    Yes Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshot are quitting which is a shame because they deserve to face voter backlash for their awful decision to support the Gillard and the Labor Party against their constiuents wishes. Take your super and run!!

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  • Gone to the races:

    27 Jun 2013 5:46:09am

    Just amazing how Annabel Crabb refers to our electoral system as "Election Lotto". Sorry but Lotto is a game of chance. Our hung parliament was a direct result of voter intentions not chance. As for Tony Windsor I suspect he would have held the line for a Liberal government too if he had chosen that option. Nothing at all to do with loyalty to Gillard. Tony Windsor revealed himself as a man of reason and his replacement Barnaby Joyce will be verbally amusing as always but sadly will just be another party hack without a truly independent voice.

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  • Herb:

    27 Jun 2013 6:05:28am

    The perceptions we have of a man illustrated in the blogg. I see him as a traitor to a party, indecisive, selfish, conniving and I could go on. History will judge.

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  • Doug of Armidale:

    27 Jun 2013 6:31:30am

    Windsor,a small man that, when he saw his majority disappear, verballed Abbott with foul supposed comments, no witnesses, no credibility.

    Shame that he did not allow us to show our disgust at the ballot box.

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    • JAMES G.:

      27 Jun 2013 9:06:48am

      Doug, he hasn't got the intestinal fortitude, that's why.

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    27 Jun 2013 6:59:18am

    It seems fitting to me that Julia Gillard should fall in the same way she has come to power. As a puppet of union mafia. Unions are the sole reason for the plight of Australian manufacturing and if Rudd can rein in their control I might consider voting again.I brought my daughter up to know that she can be better than any man and I am proud that she was able to compete on equal footing in her male dominated career path. Julia Gillard should have played the game and not the man. She has set back the cause of women everywhere.

    All major parties including the greens are used as stepping stoness for other agendas than the promotion of democracy or the state and the electorate should recognise that -rather than blindly following their "team". Unionism is important but those who seek personal power have hijacked a worthy cause and dealt it a deadly blow. It's all over for workers in Australia. The world is full of people who are willing to work harder, longer, smarter and for less reward. The unions should have focussed on being more competitive by becoming more productive but they chose the easy way out and relied on outdated standover tactics and so became the greatest exporter of Australian jobs. We are now at the mercy of those who control the LNP. Big business have won the battle.

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  • Waterloo Sunset. 2014:

    27 Jun 2013 7:25:11am

    Of course, Rudd would not have challenged without being sure of his victory - which means of course that Windsor and Oakshott, jumped ship.

    They knew!!!!

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  • Amethyst:

    27 Jun 2013 8:12:45am

    Windsor is more honourable than the vast majority of politicians inhabiting the current Parliament but will forever remain the conservative's whipping boy for his 'defection' to support a Labor government.

    He served his electorate with dignity and respect. With Windsor retiring it's unfortunate that New England is likely be encumbered with the facile, blow-in Barnaby Joyce.

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    • JAMES G.:

      27 Jun 2013 9:09:29am

      Windsor and Oakeshot were dead ducks in their electorates and they knew it.

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  • Polly Wolly Doodle:

    27 Jun 2013 8:52:00am

    There will now be a well earned rest coming for Tony Windsor, from the vitriol, from the constant screaming. The constant and relentless hatred directed at him and his family would cause anyone to feel chronic exhaustion. But Tony Windsor acted in a state of acute focus on what was right for this Nation, Australia.

    On the other hand, Tony Abbott and his rabid supporters provide us with an example that the critical and interpreting mind can shut down and be replaced by a simpler mechanism that serves raw political ambition via negativity and deception. The idea is to throw away the humane self, and in doing so, install a corrupt system of values.

    Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshot will be missed.

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  • Mike of Ulster:

    27 Jun 2013 9:33:20am


    While you are commenting - as this is a political thread - give a moments thought to the UK Guardian informaiton, re about internet monitoring

    The US NSA, and the UK GCHQ are busy capturing, storing your internet traffic. Your computers ID will link it to everything else you do on the net, including who you are and your location. The story hardly got any coverage here.

    Yes fun to comment on the balance of power in Canberra. The ABC site is good natured, and interesting. We feel we can pretty much speak our minds.

    That's as it should be.

    Take care it stays that way here in Australia.

    The lesson from overseas - is - that can change.

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  • Alfie:

    27 Jun 2013 10:32:24am

    So Barnaby gets New England without a fight. Shame really, I would have liked to see Winsor done over.

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  • Mohammad Islam:

    27 Jun 2013 11:00:42am

    Tony Windosr was the local member for the town I lived in when I was at university - University of New England in Armidale NSW.

    During that time I met him a few times and he has ALWAYS struck me as a decent man. He was the ONLY independent I ever voted at an election and I would easily do so again if the circumstances required it.

    The people who are rubbishing Windosr should think carefully about what type of people THEY are for making derogatory remarks about a man they have - most likely - never met or spoken to.

    Although I do not agree with Windosr's support for Julia Gillard, I can equally understand WHY he did it. The truth is the only two alternatives to supporting Gillard were: supporting Tony Abbott OR depriving the country of a functioning government.

    Abbott - who I have also met - is, in my humble opinion, not a principled man or a man of any intellectual substance.

    Abbott, who is supposedly an "educated" man, stands for nothing. His views are based on what his backers within and outside the Liberal Party want. This lack of intellect and courage my friends, are NOT the characteristics of a man fit to be a LEADER. If any one doubts my claims that Abbott is "weak" then I respectfully suggest that they go and research HOW he managed to beat Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party. For the record. Turnbull would have a made a great Prime Minister.

    In any event, Tony Windosr is now retiring and I, as a proud Australian, thank him for his HONEST and DUTYFUL service to the Australian people and wish him a happy retirement.

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  • FalKirk:

    27 Jun 2013 11:20:00am

    Windsor has a pathological hatred of the Nationals. Every decision he makes is in this context. Unsound basis for thoughtful judgment.

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  • stever:

    27 Jun 2013 11:22:42am

    A day is a long time in journalism. So Ms Crabb, do you want to add an addendum to your article. Or should you like so many of your colleagues should wish to apologise for your wildly inaccurate reporting.

    Mr Windsor's pact is not terribly difficult to understand. He faced a woman who had her act together and a bloke who was all over the shop and made a pact that he stuck to. And one Australia needed him to stick to. Was he not proved correct over the last three years. Heaven help us in Australia if he had made the opposite decision.

    Best of luck JG and TW.

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  • cmonoz:

    27 Jun 2013 11:53:05am

    It sickens me to see Windsor and Gillard treated so badly in some of these ugly mindless blogs. They gave their all for Australia. They can now enjoy a great sense of achievement. The very best and good health Tony, Julia and others. Well done and thank you so much. xxx

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Comments for this story are closed.

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