Women's Council met at the Mercure Hotel in Sydney on the 8 and 9 April, to talk, listen and be heard, as the Council continues to provide input and direction for the Party. Guest speakers included the former Federal Leader Warren Truss, medicinal cannabis advocate and Nationals' member Lucy Haslam, and Chiefs of Staff Fiona Dewar and Emma Logan.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss spoke passionately to the gathered delegates on the important role Women’s Council plays within the Party. Warren also used the opportunity to thank the members of the Women's Council for all the support they had given him during his time in office. This garnered a standing ovation from the assembly, a fitting tribute to Warren for his support over many years.
In the spirit of strong, influential women, two who work 'behind the scenes' in the hallways of NSW State Parliament were also invited to address the delegation. Fiona Dewar and Emma Logan, both respected Chiefs of Staff within the NSW Nationals team, addressed the meeting to discuss their journey into politics and the importance of women, not only in parliament, but in senior roles throughout ministerial offices. Both women provided an interesting glimpse into the life of a Chief of Staff and took the opportunity to encourage guests to consider the career path - one they said can have real impact, particularly in the creation of policy.
The ever-inspiring Lucy Haslam was also a highlight. After her son Dan was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2010, Lucy became a tireless advocate for medicinal cannabis - a drug that can now be accessed by the terminally ill patients who need it most. She shared her own heartbreaking story of Dan and the lengths they went to help him and told how medicinal cannabis gave him a better quality of life. Many across Australia have Lucy, and her late son Dan, to thank for triggering a national conversation on medicinal marijuana. Access to medical cannabis is now available to those who need most it under the Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme, thanks largely to the work of the Haslams.