Crook won't negotiate with Gillard

INCOMING West Australian Nationals MP Tony Crook says he probably won’t be negotiating with Julia Gillard after the prime minister ruled out dropping Labor’s proposed mining tax.

Ms Gillard yesterday said she would not back down on the tax.

“Obviously I entered breakthrough negotiations with the Australian miners, Australia’s biggest miners, and I will be honouring that agreement,” she said in Canberra.

Mr Crook later declared that was a “major stumbling block” to him supporting a minority Labor government.

“We wanted no mining tax. To that end it’s very likely we’re not going to be talking to Ms Gillard.”

Mr Crook, who dumped colourful Liberal Wilson Tuckey in the seat of O’Connor, has said he’ll act as an independent in the next parliament, joining up to four others on the crossbenches.

He said he wouldn’t be drawn into a bidding war on other policies.

“My campaign platform is clear," he said.

“We need a mechanism for delivering funding into regional Western Australia no matter who is in power.”

The former farmer who now runs a pastoral consultancy said he’d received a phone call from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

“Obviously there’ll be more discussions going forward.”


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