Focus on community from the ground up

The NSW Nationals is organised from the ground up to make sure local people make local decisions about local issues.

We are made up of groups of members organised into local branches, then into state and federal electorate councils based on electoral boundaries.

Members – important support and important rights

A strong, locally-based membership is the lifeblood of the NSW Nationals. Our campaign successes and strong democratic policy development rely on our grassroots members. Strong local leaders working in an active and well-supported branch and electorate council network means communities are properly represented and good outcomes achieved, which is why you should support your local branch.

Importantly, our constitution is democratic and it is owned by the members. It provides fairness, organisation and accountability and gives members important rights – it is a platform for individuals and communities, a voice in politics and policy!

Branches – Think local

Branches are the beating heart of The Nationals, and a sure way to voice local solutions to local issues. A branch has the power to nominate a candidate for preselection, promote local issues and projects within the organisation and submit resolutions on policies to conferences, Central Council or local electorate councils.

Strong and sustained investment in regional NSW can only happen if we remain strong and focused on the future. The strength of our branch structure is vital to future success.

If you want to get in touch with your local branch, email or call the membership team on (02) 9299 5811.


Electorate Councils – Local leadership

State and federal electorate councils are based on official electoral boundaries. All locally-enrolled members of at least six months’ standing are entitled to attend, vote at and hold office-bearer positions in their local electorate council.

Electorate council chairs lead the local Nationals organisation and, with fellow office-bearers, ensure good governance, membership development, campaign preparedness and community engagement. They are also key members of Central Council, the organisation’s governing body, responsible for determining action and overseeing operations.

It is the voting members of electorate councils that set the preselection process and endorsement of candidates for their electorate, subject to approval by Central Council.

Women’s Council & Young Nationals – Developing opportunities

Our Women’s Council and the Young Nationals are vital to the growth and future success of The Nationals. The Young Nationals organisation has been around for more than 50 years, while the Women’s Council is an extension of the Women’s Advisory Council, which was formed in 1927.

All of our female members have voting rights in Women’s Council, though there is a core group of elected and ex-officio delegates expected to represent their region.

The Young Nats include all members aged between 18 and 35 (though those aged 16-18 can join without voting rights).

Each organisation reports to Central Council on its activities and may move motions for consideration, as well as submit motions for inclusion on the agenda of Annual General Conference and regional conferences. They each elect their delegates to their respective federal organisations, the Women’s Federal Council and the Young Nationals’ Federal Council.

Central Council – The governing body

Central Council is an important part of the organisational structure of the NSW Nationals. It is our governing body, made up of 85 delegates from across the state and from every region. Decisions aren’t made by people from the city, Central Council puts the power into the hands of our members, enabling balanced and representative input to debates and resolutions of the council. Meetings are held three to four times a year.

Parliamentary leaders and executive office bearers brief central councillors on current political affairs at each meeting and councillors can question them on any given issue. This ensures regional leaders can take their concerns, get an answer, and then report back to the members.

Central Council broadly comprises:

  • the chairmen of all state and federal electorate councils in NSW, as well as one other delegate from federal electorate councils
  • the state chairman and immediate past chairman
  • the state and federal parliamentary leaders and other parliamentary delegates
  • up to 10 members with special knowledge or qualifications, two of whom must reside in the Western Division of NSW
  • the chairman and four other delegates of the NSW Young Nationals
  • the Chairman of the NSW Nationals Women’s Council
  • the state treasurer
  • not more than six trustees, who are each elected for a term of three years

The powers and duties of Central Council are detailed in our Constitution & Rules.

Central Executive – Acting on behalf of Central Council

Central Executive is made up of 18-20 delegates and has the responsibility of supervising the activities of the organisation in the periods between Central Council meetings. Members of the Central Executive, other than its ex-officio members, are elected at the Central Council Annual General Meeting.

The current executive is led by NSW Nationals Chairman Andrew Fraser, Senior Vice Chair Wendy Machin, Vice Chair Gabrielle Coupland and Treasurer John Cameron AM.

Central Executive usually meets between meetings of Central Council, and also convenes by teleconference as necessary to resolve urgent issues. The decisions of Central Executive take immediate effect and remain in force unless determined otherwise by Central Council; the State Chairman will always report these decisions at the next Central Council meeting.

Details on the composition, powers and duties of Central Executive are contained in Section 8 of the Constitution and Rules.

Organisational Committees – Oversight and transparency

Central Council maintains six organisational committees responsible for overseeing important aspects of the Party’s operations. The committees are:

  • Finance Committee oversees finances and recommends budgets for election campaigns and other activities.
  • Campaign Committee concentrates on political and electoral strategies and planning for State and Federal elections, by-elections and referendum campaigns.
  • Constitution & Ethics Committee oversees the Constitution and Rules to ensure its ongoing relevance in a changing society and political landscape. It may also consider complaints that may arise over a member’s conduct or interpretation of the Constitution and Rules.
  • Membership Committee reviews the organisation’s membership and engagement activities.
  • Life Membership Committee considers nominations for awards.
  • Candidate Nomination Committee considers all applications from prospective pre-selection nominees.

Each committee reports and makes recommendations to Central Council or Central Executive. They have no decision-making powers, although decision-making powers may be delegated to them.