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Michael Towke

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Michael Towke is a former Australian politician and telecommunications engineer who was the Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Cook in the 2007 federal election. He was defeated by Scott Morrison.

Michael Towke with the text "Michael Towke" foregrounded.

Following the retirement of Bruce Baird, who had served as the member of Cook since 1998,

Mr. Morrison sought Liberal preselection for the division of Cook for the 2007 election. He lost the ballot to Mr. Towke, by 82 votes to 8, with Paul Fletcher seeing the second highest tally with 70 votes. Mr. Fletcher went on to win Liberal preselection for the North Shore seat of Bradfield.

However Mr. Towke was accused of branch-stacking resulting in the state executive of the Liberal Party disendorsed him and held a new preselection ballot, which Mr. Morrison then won.

In 2022 Mr. Towke accused Morrison of engaging in ‘racial vilification’ during the 2007 preselection, claiming that party preselectors had informed him that Morrison had said to them that “a candidate of Lebanese heritage could not hold the seat of Cook, especially after the Cronulla riots,” and furthermore that there was a “strong rumour” that Mr. Towke was a Muslim.

Mr. Towke originally made his allegations known in a statutory declaration signed from 2016. In 2022 when he openly discussed the claims to media he stated:

“I stand by the declarations I asserted in my statutory declaration...Amongst many unedifying tactics used to unseat me from my preselection victory for Morrison, racial vilification was front and centre and he was directly involved.
"I am advised that there are several statutory declarations to attest to racial comments made by Morrison at the time that we can’t have a Lebanese person in Cook...The only way that Towke could get political exoneration for a future run was to agree to put his numbers behind Morrison.”

Sources & Further Reading

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