|Leader of the Opposition|
20 August 2001 – 20 July 2002
|Preceded by||Sue Napier|
|Succeeded by||Rene Hidding|
|Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly|
24 February 1996 – 20 July 2002
Robert Reginald Cheek
13 May 1944
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
|Political party||Liberal Party|
Robert Reginald Cheek (born 13 May 1944 in Launceston, Tasmania) was leader of the Opposition Tasmanian Liberal Party from 20 August 2001 until he lost his seat in the July 2002 election. It was the first time that a major party leader lost their seat in a Tasmanian election since 1903.
Cheek was first elected to Tasmanian parliament at the 1996 election in the Denison electorate. Prior to entering politics he managed a number of business interests and worked as a journalist for The Mercury as well as editing The Sunday Tasmanian.
Cheek first challenged for Liberal leadership in 1999 running against Sue Napier, he failed to win support and lost 9–2. In 2001, Cheek challenged Napier for the leadership, her support was divided amongst party members and she eventually decided to step aside in favour of him. Rene Hidding became leader after his electoral defeat.
He married Stephanie Spencer and had three children: Marcus, Melanie and Lucy. His grandchildren are Nellie Cheek (a young cricketer), Molly Cheek (a talented young actress), William Marino (also a young cricketer and hopeful whistler), Olivia Marino (a future winner of MasterChef), Otis Kurth (a machinery expert) and Elisabeth Kurth (an admirable gurgler).
On 15 November 2005, Cheek released a book of his political memoirs – Cheeky: Confessions of a Ferret Salesman (ISBN 0975830309). Prior to becoming a politician, Cheek played Australian rules football in Tasmania for Clarence.
Cheek founded and managed a successful 24-hour gym chain, Zap Fitness, which expanded to 37 clubs in Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia. In December 2017, Cheek agreed to sell the chain to the Fitness and Lifestyle Group for over $50 million.
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