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Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Page: 141

Mr WINDSOR (7:30 PM) —The House would be aware that, in the last week, evidence was given to the Senate inquiry into the Regional Partnerships program and also some questions were asked in the House of the Deputy Prime Minister. I would like to make some comment in the brief time given to me on these events. The House may not be aware that Greg Maguire gave evidence to the Senate inquiry last week and agreed with essentially all of the allegations that had been made, except for the link with the Deputy Prime Minister. I think it was made pretty clear yesterday that an inducement offer was made by Greg Maguire. He admitted to that—that there was the possibility of jobs for the boys, an overseas posting—and said specifically in his evidence that he gave me the advice that I should ‘go and talk to John Anderson’. That conversation took place a few days after Mr Maguire admitted to having an hour-and-a-half conversation with Mr Anderson, Senator Sandy Macdonald—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. IR Causley)—The member for New England will refer to members by their seat or their title.

Mr WINDSOR —and also a staffer from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, Wendy Armstrong. The Deputy Prime Minister told us that Wendy Armstrong left the room at one particular stage before the inducement offer was actually made.

There were a number of contradictions within the evidence that Greg Maguire gave, and I would like to just briefly go through them. Mr Maguire gave evidence that there were helicopters over his house on 20 September. He was not named in the parliament until 17 November, some time after the election. He gave evidence that the funding for the equine centre in Tamworth could be jeopardised. He could only have known that if he in fact knew that he was implicated in the inducement offer. Greg Maguire also said that he had made substantial donations to my election campaigns, both state and federal—although he said he was not involved in the 2004 election campaign, which is quite correct. He was involved in the 2001 campaign through some advice about television advertising, but records show that there have been no financial contributions from one Greg Maguire or any of his 37 companies in any of those election campaigns. I would urge the Senate inquiry to look very closely at that particular issue.

In one part of his evidence, he called Helen Tickle, a witness before the inquiry—a well-respected woman in the Tamworth area—a liar. He said that she had lied under oath. A little time later in his evidence, he said there was not a bad bone in her body. Mr Maguire said that I always wanted to be the Deputy Prime Minister. When asked had I ever said to him that I wanted to be the Deputy Prime Minister, he said, ‘No, Tony Windsor has never mentioned that to me.’ Senator Brandis said something along the lines of, ‘You know Tony Windsor pretty well, don’t you?’ trying to establish some sort of character impression of me from a favourable witness, and Greg Maguire said, ‘Not closely, personally, no.’

So there is a whole range of contradictions here. Greg Maguire made a statement that I had this unbridled hatred for the National Party. As you would know better than anybody in this room, Mr Deputy Speaker Causley, I was the member of parliament in 1991 in a hung parliament that put the National Party into government in New South Wales. This was after I had supposedly developed this hatred of John Anderson and the National Party back in 1988. Why would I put the National Party into government? It was my vote that determined that the National Party be part of the state coalition government in 1991, and I worked well with that government.

In 2000, when I was a state member, it was the Deputy Prime Minister—he was not the Deputy Prime Minister then—who, in conjunction with the minister for agriculture at the state level, jointly proposed that I chair the Namoi groundwater committee. (Time expired)