Pressure on Labor as Crook joins Coalition
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Video: Crossbencher Crook joins Coalition(7pm TV News WA)
Western Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook has formally joined the Coalition, placing further pressure on the Labor Government.
The member for O’Connor says he believes it is the best way to serve his electorate.
The move by Mr Crook, who has voted with Labor more than 30 times in the Lower House since the last election, puts the Coalition’s numbers at 72 members to Labor’s 71.
Mr Crook has kept his distance from federal colleagues while serving as a crossbencher over the past 18 months, but on Saturday he announced he will sit with the National Party in Parliament.
Mr Crook declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement his desire to put WA issues on the agenda prompted the move. He also said he was looking forward to giving rural WA a strong voice.
While Prime Minister Julia Gillard still controls the Lower House through her deals with the independents and Greens, Mr Abbott now has bragging rights for which major party has more members and more discipline over Mr Crook’s vote.
Nationals leader Warren Truss says the move is mutually beneficial.
“I think he realises that there’s lots of work that needs to be done in Western Australia and by working with colleagues he can deliver more for his constituency,” he said.
“I’m sure he’ll make a good contribution to our debates and importantly bring a West Australian perspective to many issues under discussion.”
Mr Crook has strongly criticised the Labor Government’s carbon and mining taxes.
It is still unclear if Mr Crook will run again at next year’s election.
Topics:federal—state-issues, government-and-politics, oconnor-6163, wa