Membership of The Nationals is open to any Australian who shares the Party’s values and wants to help build a better future for our nation.
A great strength of The Nationals is the opportunity it provides members to participate in all the Party’s processes.
Members help develop policy through involvement in Policy Committees or as delegates to Party Conferences and Central Councils. They help run election campaigns locally, select candidates and may stand for selection themselves as a political candidate or elected Party official.
The volunteer contribution The Nationals’ members make provides vital support for the Party’s operation, election campaigns and to their local Nationals Parliamentarians.
Join The Nationals here
The Nationals are represented in five states – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia – and the Northern Territory. While all have similar operational structures, each is an independent and autonomous Party organisation with its own Constitution and Rules.
The State Parties join together in an affiliation to form The Nationals.
Each State Party’s members belong to Branches that are usually geographically based on towns, cities or local areas. Branches combine to form Electorate or Divisional Councils that are based on State and Federal electorates and these send delegates to the State Party’s Annual State Conference, at which State policy is decided. Any Federal issues that are discussed and supported at these State Conferences are then forwarded for consideration by The Nationals Federal Council or Conference.
Each of the State Parties is governed by a Central Council, comprising delegates from all State and Federal Electorates and State and Federal Parliamentary representatives within that State. The Central Councils are able to make policy decisions between Annual Conferences and usually meet two to four times a year.
The State Parties are administered on a day-to-day basis by Management Committees or Central Executives.
Federal Management Committee
The Federal Management Committee is made up of the Federal President, Federal Vice-President, Federal Treasurer, Federal Secretary (all of whom are appointed annually by Federal Council); the Federal Parliamentary Leader, Deputy Leader and Leader in the Senate; the Chair of the Policy Standing Committee, the Presidents of affiliated State Parties; the President of the Women's Federal Council, the Federal President of the Young Nationals; and the Immediate Past-Federal President.
The Federal Management Committee meets at least once a quarter and is the body responsible for managing the affairs of the Party.
Meet The Nationals Federal Management Committee here.
The Federal Council meets once a year and is the supreme governing body of The Nationals. It has the power to make policy decisions, alter the Party's Federal Constitution, establish committees, set fees payable to the Federal Secretariat by the affiliated Parties, admit organisations to affiliate or associate with The Nationals and terminate such affiliations or associations.
All members of Federal Management Committee are delegates to the Federal Council, as are all the Party’s Federal Parliamentarians and State Parliamentary Leaders. However, more than half of Federal Council delegates are Branch members. All delegates have the right to vote.
Traditionally, Federal Council meets in Canberra, following the Party’s State Conferences; this ensures that resolutions on Federal issues from State Conferences can be considered by Federal Council. If adopted, those resolutions become Federal Party policy.
The Federal Constitution provides for a Federal Conference to be convened once every three years or once in the life of each Federal Parliament.
Federal Conference is designed to ensure maximum participation by the Branch members of the Party around the nation. Each Federal Electorate Council may send three delegates to Conference.
At least two-thirds of Federal conference delegates are local Branch members. This ensures Parliamentary or other organisational numbers do not dominate voting outcomes.
Party Policy and the Parliamentary Parties
The Parliamentary Party has responsibility for promoting and implementing The Nationals’ policies and for using the Party’s platform as the basis for its decision-making in the Parliament.
The Nationals, more than any other Party, champion the interests of the communities, regions and states they represent. From time to time this may mean our Parliamentarians cross the floor of the Parliament on issues of regional significance. In the main though, the Party and its Parliamentarians recognise they can achieve more by working together as a strong conservative team.
The Nationals apply these relative freedoms, recognising that its Parliamentarians have to make policy decisions on an almost daily basis and in light of changing political circumstances, and because our primary objective is to provide strong, effective representation to the communities we represent.
The National headquarters of The Nationals is known as the Federal Secretariat, located in John McEwen House in Canberra. It supports the Federal Parliamentary Party and the work of the Federal Management Committee, Federal Council and Federal Conference. It was founded by the then Federal Leader, Sir John McEwen and opened on November 4, 1968.
The Federal Secretariat is the national centre for administration, research and campaign planning. It provides research, information, training and support to Federal Parliamentarians, candidates and Party staff. It also provides assistance to the States during their election campaigns and is able to provide specialist support in such areas as development, research and strategic planning.
The Federal Director is the chief executive officer in charge of the Federal Secretariat and is responsible for all general Federal election and Federal referendum campaigns.
Contact Federal Secretariat here