Member of the Week - Emma Watts
Many of our Members of the Week lay a fair claim to long memories with The Nationals, having been in and around The Country and National Parties from a young age.
But there would be few who can match the claims of Emma Watts, whose first childhood memories are of a Young Australian Country Party Conference circa late 1970s! And it seems she’s been roped in ever since…
Young Country Party icons Jenny Gardiner and Nancy Capel being two of the friendly faces she recalls from her first conference experience, accompanying her parents around the Country Party traps in those early days clearly left a mark on young Emma.
Since then she’s made a name for herself in the Party as an enthusiastic and hard-working member with a long list of her own experiences and achievements.
Emma has served on Central Council as Senior Vice-Chairman of the NSW Nationals, Chairman of the Monaro State Electorate Council and Chairman of the Eden-Monaro Federal Electorate Council as well as having held numerous other roles at all levels.
She is currently on The Nationals Federal Management Committee as the Chair of the Policy Standing Committee.
Through her efforts in these roles, she aims to give something back in return for the skills the Party has taught her and for the time that was invested in her by many members.
She credits these lessons as her fondest memories in the Party – campaigning in Broken Hill in 1999 with former Party Chairman and Upper House MP Doug Moppett, as well as with another former Chairman Christine Ferguson during the 2003 State Election.
The lessons she learned from such campaigns were put to use as the Campaign Director for Monaro in the 2011 State Election with then Nationals candidate, and now State Leader, John Barilaro.
A tough campaign that sets an example for any challenge against an incumbent MP, Emma’s tip is that no campaign can be won alone – you need the right candidate and the right team, and you need to put in the effort to develop the resources and strategy.
She advocates for the old adage: “You can’t fatten a pig on market day.”
This might also explain her belief in the work of the Federal Policy Committee she chairs. This Committee ensures the things that matter to the grassroots, the people who turn up for The Nationals, make it onto the national agenda through Federal Conference and Council motions.
And while she laughs at the question of where she sees Australian politics heading it’s her serious answer that reinforces how important this foundation is.
"The current environment reminds us where we come from, and if we leave people behind as leaders in politics they will call us on it.
"It is an opportunity to remember that we have to take people with us."
"I think that the Nationals are well placed to show that leadership."