Tony Windsor MP is the Independent Federal Member for New England in the Parliament of Australia.
He is a primary producer and has lived near the town of Werris Creek his whole life where he owns the property 'Cintra'. He is married to Lyn and they have three children, Andrew, Kate and Tom.
Following the completion of his secondary education at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth, Tony successfully undertook his Bachelor of Economics studies at the University of New England in Armidale.
Tony's farming background, together with his qualifications as an economist, have led to his active involvement with a broad range of rural groups and organisations over many years.
Prior to entering politics, Tony had been a member of the NSW Government Soil Conservation Advisory Council, the Land, Local Government & Soil Conservation Committee, the Parry Shire Council Local Environment Plan Committee, the North West Total Catchment Management Committee, the NSW Farmers Association, the Coarse Grains/Oilseeds Committee and the Grains Council of Australia.
He was also involved in negotiations with a Chinese Government and South Korean Trade Delegation regarding wool scour facilities to add value to agriculture products within the Tamworth Electorate and in 1983 he was an Australian Delegate to the 5th International Farm Management Congress in Nairobi, Kenya where he delivered a paper on Increasing Food Production in Dryland Farming Areas.
Tony has also been extensively involved with numerous groups and organisations in the local community and has held executive positions with the Werris Creek Rotary Club, The Werris Creek Economic Development Committee and the Quirindi Rugby Club. Tony is also the Chairman of the New England/Northwest Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Advisory Committee.
Tony successfully stood as an Independent Candidate for the Electorate of Tamworth at the New South Wales General Election in May 1991. Immediately following his election, Tony held the balance of power, together with three other Independent Members, in the Legislative Assembly. He was re-elected at the 1995 General Election where he received the highest primary vote in New South Wales, approximately 83%, and again at the 1999 General Election with a majority of 85.2% on a two party preferred basis – at that time the highest majority of any MP in Australia.
In October 2001 Tony resigned from the NSW Parliament to contest the Federal seat of New England. He was elected as the Independent Member for New England on 10 November 2001, a seat which had been safely held by the National Party/Country Party since 1919. At the 2004 Federal Election, Tony was re-elected with a significantly increased majority, receiving 71% of the vote on a two candidate preferred basis, a swing of 12.7% - one of the largest swings achieved by a sitting MP. Tony further increased his majority at the 2007 Election, receiving 61.94% of the primary vote and 74.33% of the vote on a two candidate preferred basis.
During his time as a State MP, Tony was a member of numerous NSW Parliamentary Committees including the Agricultural and Rural Affairs, State Development and Tourism, and Conservation and Land Management Back Bench Committees, the NSW Joint Committee on the Office of the Ombudsman, the Parliamentary Select Committee upon the Sydney Market Authority, the Select Parliamentary Committee on Bushfires, the Standing Committee on Public Works and the Joint Standing Committee on Small Business. Following his election to the Federal Parliament, Tony has been appointed twice to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is currently a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries and Resources and the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
Tony has been a strong campaigner for issues affecting regional areas in New South Wales and since 1996 he has been the Convenor of the NSW Country Summit. The first Summit was held in Tamworth in November, 1996 and a second Summit was conducted in Wagga Wagga in March 1998. Several hundred delegates representing approximately 180 organisations from across New South Wales have participated in the Summit process and have been attended by representatives of the major political parties including the New South Wales Premier and Leader of the Opposition.
The key areas discussed included Rural Health, Impact of Government Decisions on Country New South Wales, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure, Location of Government Agencies and Services, Land Use and Environment, Cost of Business, Law and Order and Education and Youth Affairs.
In 1999 Tony formed the Country Independent's Alliance with the Independent Member for Northern Tablelands, Richard Torbay, and the former Independent Member for Dubbo, the late Tony McGrane. The three MPs worked together on issues impacting on Country NSW and continued the successful agenda of the NSW Country Summits. Whilst fiercely maintaining their Independent status, Tony Windsor, Richard Torbay and Tony McGrane agreed that their first responsibility was to represent their respective electorates, however they then united on issues and developed policies that assisted in growing country NSW and defended together against those issues and policies which impacted negatively.
Since entering the Federal Parliament, Tony has convened three Vision New England Summits held in Armidale in 2003, 2005 and 2009. Delegates from a diverse range of community groups and organisations from across the Electorate attending the Summits have submitted issues of concern affecting residents in the New England Electorate. Topics discussed include matters relating to health, education, communications, community services, employment, social and cultural heritage, public liability insurance, occupational health and safety, disability services, skills shortage, taxation, government services, regional development, rural industry and transport infrastructure. Resolutions aimed at addressing these issues have been agreed upon with excellent progress being made to address these matters and, in many cases, positive outcomes achieved.
Tony's goal is to make all Members aware of the impact of Legislation on country communities and particularly the New England Electorate.