Since election night I have received more than 50 e-mails from members of the public wanting to know why I have included Tony Crook, the new Nationals MP for O'Connor, in the total of seats for the Coalition.
Mr Crook, like every other WA National candidate, was nominated under the umbrella of the Federally registered National Party. He appeared on the ballot paper with the party affiliation of 'The Nationals', as did all National Party candidates in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. As far as party registration with the Electoral Commission is concerned, Mr Crook is in the same party as National MPs from other states.
If after the election Mr Crook or the WA Nationals no longer wish to be treated in this way, I can say on behalf of the ABC we are prepared to consider instructions from Mr Crook that he does not wish to be included in the total of seats for the Coalition.
If we receive such instruction to remove Mr Crook from the total of Coalition seats, we will take such action and ensure that it receives appropriate news coverage.