Through a combination of hard work, a willingness to listen to all comers and a resilience befitting his vast Western NSW electorate, Mark turned a marginal seat into the safest in the country in the space of just two elections.
With his wife Robyn he has clocked up countless thousands of kilometres across the Parkes electorate – the biggest in NSW – regularly stopping for community events and constituent interviews in some of the smallest and remote towns in the country.
Mark was born the son of Jack and Nancy Coulton of “Avondale”, Gravesend. He attended Warialda Public School then Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School as a boarding student. He participated in a range of activities, including his favourite sport rugby league. In addition, riding and working with horses have always been a big part of his life.
After completing high school, Mark returned to the family farm. In 1981, he married Robyn, who had arrived from Sydney to teach at the small primary school at Gravesend. Mark and Robyn have three children – Claire, Sally and Matthew.
Prior to entering federal Parliament, Mark was the Mayor of Gwydir Shire Council from 2004 until 2007. He has also been an active member of the community through his involvement in a wide variety of community organisations, including Warialda Pony Club, the local Bush Fire Brigade and the Warialda Rotary Club. He is a life member of Warialda Apex.
Since his election to Parliament in 2007, Mark has been working hard to represent the people of the Parkes electorate in Canberra. He has previously held a place in the Shadow Ministry: as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources and Conservation; and as the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Ageing and the Voluntary Sector.
Mark holds a position on the House of Representatives Health and Ageing Committee. He is also co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Meals on Wheels and Parliamentary Friends of Epilepsy.
As a Federal Member Mark continues to work hard to improve local roads and infrastructure. He is passionate about providing opportunities for people of all ages to further their education and to develop practical skills. Mark has helped deliver positive results for his community, including the Gwydir Learning Region, a successful partnership between Gwydir Shire Council, local schools, TAFE, universities and businesses.
Family and community are two things Mark values above all else. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
3/153 Brisbane Street
DUBBO NSW 2830
Phone: (02) 6882 0999
Fax: (02) 6882 9935
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MOREE NSW 2400
Phone: 02 6751 1251
Fax: 02 6751 1253
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BROKEN HILL NSW 2880
Phone: 08 8087 7649
Fax: 08 8087 7605