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We are drawing to the end of 2015 and Christmas is looming. This is a time to remember what is important, whether it be family, friends or neighbours. Christmas is a time to celebrate our relationships with those who care about us and who we care about, sharing food, drink and company.

But before you leave to travel around the country to celebrate the festive season, let me run through the fantastic and productive year it has been for The Nats.

The first challenge of the year was the March state election. Under a sustained assault from Labor, The Nationals cleared the election with flying colours, ready to represent the people of rural and regional NSW. I can’t thank enough the hard work of the hundreds of volunteers who worked tirelessly on the campaign to support the Party and our members.

Our Annual General Conference was held in magnificent style in the Lower Hunter this year, with plenty of passionate and sometimes entertaining debate occurring. Conference is a wonderful time for everyone from across the Party to join together for a weekend of social and political events and it was wonderful to see such a large attendance this year. I look forward to seeing many of you again at next year’s conference at sunny Tweed Heads.

As the year draws to a close, it is important to reflect upon events that have been more sombre. December 15 marked the one year anniversary of the Lindt Café Siege. The outpouring of support from across Australia after the event gives hope to the wonderful society that is Australia, where everyone is prepared to lend a hand through tough times, whether something as tragic as the Sydney Siege or a more natural disaster such as flood, fire or drought. The willingness of people to chip in and help out is part of our Australian spirit and one we should treasure.

At the end of the year, we look forward to the next and the new challenges and triumphs that is will bring. Now is the time for celebration of the wonderful year we have had, with Christmas parties being held at branches and offices all across the state. I’d like to thank those who made the effort to travel to Sydney for the Chairman’s Christmas Drinks. It was wonderful to see so many there and it made for a great night for all in attendence.

Our Party often feels like family and when we are together, we act like it too. We are connected by our love of our communities and our drive to see regional people given a fair go. I look forward to continuing the great work of The Nationals into a great 2016. I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year.

Bede Burke
Party Chairman

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