Former federal member says it’s ludicrous that a ridiculous technicality prevents Nationals from fielding candidate

Former federal member says it’s ludicrous that a ridiculous technicality prevents Nationals from fielding candidate

The former federal member for O'Connor said it was ludicrous that a ridiculous technicality will prevent the Nationals from fielding a candidate for the WA seat next month's federal election.

Tony Crook, who was elected president of the WA Nationals last year, confirmed that the party would not contest the seat he held between 2010 and 2013.

Crook said the candidate of the party, who he declined to name, was ruled ineligible on constitutional grounds.

Mr Crook told the ABC that we had a very strong candidate lined up.

He got through Section 44 around citizenship.

He was born in Australia and had to renounce citizenship, which he had done.

He decided to employ people and put on an apprentice because he was penalised for taking a federal government grant to hire an apprentice he was effectively a contractor of the Commonwealth and therefore ineligible.

Mr Crook said the candidate was a well-known shire councillor who did not want to be named at this stage. The Nationals lost the past three elections in O'Connor — Chub Witham failed to win the seat in 2013 and John Hassell came up short in 2016 and 2019 despite the fact that the candidate was a well-known shire councillor.

Mr Crook denied that the party was a wasted force, but admitted that it would strengthen Liberal incumbent Rick Wilson's stranglehold on the seat by removing it from the ballot.

When asked by ABC Goldfields Breakfast presenter Ivo Da Silva if the party was dead in the water, he responded. "Look at the last state election, not by any stretch," Crook said.

Labor pledged $8 million for the construction of an outdoor pool in Kalgoorlie-Boulder - the first major commitment since Laverton school teacher and former shire councillor Shaneane Weldon was elected in November.

Crook didn't think the commitment would sway voters.

He said that we're looking for more reforms than a swimming pool.

We're looking for more investment in our region than just a swimming pool - we're looking for more investment into roads and infrastructure.

We're screaming for housing in the Goldfields.

The state and federal governments could partner on some major infrastructure projects that would make a significant social difference to our lives. Mr Wilson has been campaigning in his hometown of Katanning and Pingelly, Cuballing and Beverley, which have been added to the electorate for the upcoming election.

The results of the ballot draws held today will be published on its website later this evening.

Today's big news was the AEC referring former One Nation Senator Rod Culleton to the Australian Federal Police to determine if he made a false declaration in nominating for the coming federal election.