Our Structure

Focus on community from the ground up

The NSW Nationals is comprised of groups of Members organised into local Branches and then into State and Federal Electorate Councils based on the electorate boundaries.

Members – important support & important rights

A strong, locally-based membership is at the heart of the NSW Nationals. Our campaign successes and strong democratic policy development relies on our grassroots members. Strong local leaders working in an active and well-supported Branch and Electorate Council network means communities are represented and good outcomes achieved, which is why you should support your local Branch.

Importantly, the Party’s 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 foundation of The Nationals, and a sure way to voice local issues and solutions. A Branch has the power to nominate a candidate for preselection, promote local issues and projects within the Party and submit resolutions on policies to Conferences, Central Council or local Electorate Councils.

Strong and sustained investment in regional NSW can only happen if our Party remains strong and focused on the future. The strength of our Branch structure is paramount to maintaining this focus.

If you want to get in touch with your local Branch or find out how to start one, please contact your local Field Officer or the Membership Team on 02 9299 5811 or email membership@nswnationals.org.au.

Electorate Councils – Leadership of the local Nationals organisation

State and Federal Electorate Councils are based on the state and federal electoral boundaries. All locally-enrolled Members of at least six months’ are entitled to attend, vote at and hold office-bearer positions in their Electorate Council.

Electorate Council Chairmen 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, our governing body, responsible for determining our direction as a Party and overseeing our 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 leadership & opportunities

Our Women’s Council and the Young Nationals are vital to the growth and future success of our Party. 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 female Members of the Party 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). In particular, the Young Nationals Annual Conference is a great chance to meet other community-minded people from across the state.

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

Vice Chairman Wendy Machin, Senior Vice Chairman Sam Farraway and Chairman Andrew Fraser. 

Central Council – the governing body

Central Council is the oldest and most important part of the organisational structure of the NSW Nationals. It is the Party’s governing body. It is a large body, presently made up of 85 delegates, enabling balanced and representative input to debates and resolutions of Council. Meetings are held three-to-four times a year.

The powers and duties of Central Council are detailed in the Party’s Constitution & Rules. Parliamentary Leaders and Executive office-bearers brief Councillors on current political and Party affairs at each meeting and Councillors are able to question them on any given issue.
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 ten Party 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

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 Party in the periods between Central Council meetings.

The current Executive is led by Chairman Andrew Fraser, Senior Vice Chairman Sam Farraway, Vice Chairman Wendy Machin 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.

Members of the Central Executive, other than its ex-officio members, are elected at the Central Council Annual General 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, the Party’s governing body, maintains six organisational committees responsible for overseeing important aspects of the Party’s operations. The committees are:

  • Finance Committee oversees Party 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 Party’s 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 is relatively new and reviews the Party’s membership and engagement activities.
  • Life Membership Committee considers nominations for Party 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.