Greater diversity is an issue all parties are grappling with, and we are doing all we can to prepare for the next election with a vibrant team of community champions. Over the past 97 years the NSW Nationals have elected almost 250 people to State and Federal Parliament - but only 10 of them have been women.
To prepare for the next 97 years, we must broaden our reach and representation across the community.
The NSW Leader's Taskforce has advanced some of its recommendations into how the NSW Nationals can increase diversity in our state and federal parliamentary parties. I asked Jenny Gardiner last June to chair the NSW Leader's Taskforce, and examine measures to ensure the fiercely independent long-term future of the NSW Nationals.
With Fiona Nash’s recent elevation, the Federal Nationals have their first female Deputy Leader and Federal Cabinet Minister. The Taskforce has seized this opportunity to promote recommendations to increase diversity in the party. I am proud to say that the Taskforce recently took four recommendations to Central Executive. These included a voluntary target of 50:50 gender parity in the parliamentary party by 2025 and new mentoring and training programs for women and young people. These recommendations were unanimously supported, and will now go to Central Council to be further progressed.
Jenny has done a phenomenal job leading the taskforce and developing a broad range of options for our future, which will be further advanced through Central Council. I'd like to thank Jenny Gardiner, John Barilaro, Rick Bull, Claire Coulton, Dominic Hopkinson, Kay Hull, Fiona Nash and Sue Page for working on the Taskforce to achieve this.
The Nationals will continue to put excellent candidates into the field to fight hard for our communities. Keep watching for more announcements about how we will take action to future-proof the NSW Nationals.