The Nationals for regional Australia
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Our Team

Federal Management Committee


 

Christine Ferguson
Federal President, The Nationals

Christine lives on a property near Gundagai where she and her husband run a family business producing prime lambs, wool and cattle

She has a background in nursing from Alfred Hospital (Melbourne) and Simpsons Maternity Hospital (Edinburgh), as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England in Armidale.

Christine has served as a Councillor on Gundagai Shire Council, The Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Committee, Riverina Regional Economic Development Organization, Envirofund Australia NSW. She has also been a delegate from NSW to the Constitutional Convention, a member of Red Cross and a volunteer for the Friends of Togo Charity Africa.

She has held many positions within the National Party structure for 20 years, and was Chairman of the NSW Nationals from 2007-2012.

 Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell
Federal Director, The Nationals

Scott Mitchell has been Federal Director of The Nationals since March 2012.

Born in regional Victoria, Scott was raised on his family’s mixed cropping and grazing property near Echuca, a business which, after schooling, he became a partner.

Scott’s professional involvement withThe Nationals began with the Victorian Secretariat in 1998.  He was Federal President of the Young Nationals from 1999 – 2001.

Since this time Scott has worked on numerous State and Federal election campaigns and by-elections in Victoria and New South Wales.

Prior to his appointment as FederalDirector, Scott served for five years as Chief of Staff to the Western Australian Government’s Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; Corrective Services, the Hon Terry Redman MLA.

In this role Scott successfully managed the transition to Government, the introduction of many initiatives and oversaw significant policy reform and major transformation of the Agriculture and Food and Forestry agencies in Western Australia.

From 2005 to 2008 Scott was the Manager of Trade Policy at the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) in Canberra. This included responsibility for international trade policy – the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

During the Howard-Anderson Government, Scott most notably worked for the Hon Mark Vaile, Australia’s former Trade Minister for four years as a Political and Trade Advisor where he was responsible for the WTO, agriculture and several domestic political issues.

Scott was The Nationals Federal Campaign Director for the 2013 federal election. He has served locally on many State and Federal Campaign Committees and in numerous other Party positions.

 

John Tanner
Immediate Past Federal President, The Nationals

John Tanner owns and operates a small business in Benalla, north-eastern Victoria, which he started over 30 years ago.  As a local resident with a client base of country people, John understands first hand the issues facing people in regional Australia. With a commitment to sustaining and enhancing country communities, John has used his industry knowledge and experience to strongly advocate for small business opportunities and regional development.  He was a country delegate in the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce 1990-1994, a member of the State Executive Australian Small Business Association 1990-1994 and as State Chairman of the Timber Industry Road Evaluation Study in 1996.

John has also served as a Board member of the North East Regional Water Board 1997-2001, Delatite Economic Board 1998-2000 and Benalla & District Hospital 1999-2002. He was also a Local Government Commissioner in the Shire of Delatite 1994–1997.John has a history of strong involvement in community activities and was awarded a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship in 1994 in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution to the community during the devastating floods which affected Benalla.  John continues his community work and since 2000 has been actively involved as a Director of the Portsea Camp, formally the Lord Mayor’s Children’s Camp. 

John’s involvement with The Nationals has evolved over many years. From local Branch President, Campaign Chairman and State Councillor, John works tirelessly to promote the democratic values and processes we enjoy in Australia.  His strategic management capabilities, vision for the party and commitment are demonstrated in his six years as State President of Victoria 2000–2006, serving 12 months as Federal Vice-President concurrently.  

John was elected Federal President of The Nationals in 2006 and served the maximum 6 years 
 

Dexter Davies
Senior Vice-President, The Nationals
 

 
 

Anne McKenzie
Federal Secretary, The Nationals

 John Sharp

Hon John Sharp ADFM FCIT
Federal Treasurer, The Nationals

John Sharp is originally from a farming and business background and has served as Treasurer of The Nationals since 2005. 
 
His political career commenced in 1980 at the age of 25 when he was elected to the Young Shire Council. The same year he was elected to the South West Slopes County Council and to the Southern Tablelands County Council. In 1981 he became Chairman of the Young Neighbourhood Council, the Young Tidy Towns Committee, and Deputy Chairman of the Livestock and Grain Producers District Council.
 
In 1984 he was elected to the Federal Parliament in the seat of Gilmore. Following a redistribution in 1993 he represented the seat of Hume. He served 14 years in the Federal Parliament and, from 1987 to the end of 1997, on the Federal Coalition's front bench as Shadow Minister and later as Minister for Transport and Regional Development.
 
During his parliamentary career he became well known and respected for his role in promoting aviation safety and was responsible for numerous reforms including a complete rewrite of the aviation regulations to simplify them.  He was also responsible for the reform of Australia's railways.
 
Following his retirement from Parliament in 1998 John established his own transport consulting company, Thenford Consulting.  From 1999 to 2001 he was a director of ADI-Fox.  He is currently a director of Australian Aerospace, Deputy Chairman of Australia's largest independent regional airline Regional Express (Rex), and Chairman of Pel Air, an airfreight business and charter operator.
 
John was Chairman of the Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia from 2001 to 2007.  He part owns and is Chairman of Power and Data Corporation and in 2007, was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Council of Parsons Brinckerhoff.
 
In 2002/03 he conducted a Review of the Australian Shipping Industry on behalf of the Australian Ship Owners Association and in 2008 he became the official mentor of the Chairman of the Roads and Traffic Authority in Dubai.
 
John is also involved in a number of voluntary organisations as a Trustee and Board Member of John McEwen House, Member of the University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Cancer Council of NSW, Southern Highlands Branch.
 
John Sharp lives in the NSW Southern Highlands.
 

Terry Anne Cranwell
President, Women’s Federal Council, The Nationals

 

Ruby Cameron
Federal President, The Young Nationals

 

Emma Watts
Chair, Policy Standing Committee

 

Hon Niall Blair MLC President,
The Nationals – New South Wales

Niall hails from Goulburn, has lived and worked in Leeton and currently lives with his wife, Melinda and young son Lachlan, in the Southern Highlands.As a young father he’s deeply concerned with the struggle young families face with rising costs of living.

Niall is a graduate from Hawkesbury Agricultral College with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science, and after completing a Masters in Occupational Health and Safety, Niall worked as a technical training manager for Integral Energy Australia. No stranger to responsibility, his role included looking after 180 staff and managing a million-dollar budget.

In 2005 Niall and Melinda started their own safety consultancy company – Admire Workplace Safety.Before entering parliament Niall travelled all over regional NSW to meet with his clients.

Niall is a sports addict and keen horseman. He has completed six half ironman triathlons and enjoys working his horses.
 Gary Spence Gary Spence
Vice-President, Liberal National Party of Queensland

  
Gary Spence is the inaugural Vice-President of the Liberal National Party of Queensland.
 
Gary is Managing Director of national consulting engineering firm, Brown Consulting, a firm he’s helped develop and grow to a point that it now employs over 200 staff in offices across Australia’s eastern seaboard and in Singapore.

At the same time, Gary has successfully completed both a Master of Applied Law and a Master of Business Administration.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Officer Fellow of the Association of Consulting Engineers.

Gary’s strong personal belief in the need for the property development industry to embrace a practical green agenda has seen him dedicate a considerable amount of his working life to demonstrating the tangible benefits of such a goal to industry. This has resulted in Gary helping found the Australian Green Development Forum – an industry body set up to facilitate and encourage sustainable development.

Gary is a Director of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) and chairs its Envirodevelopment Initiative. The Initiative provides developers with a rating tool which can be used to market their developments if they reach high environmental standards.

For the past three years Gary has also sat on the Board of Brisbane CityWorks – the Brisbane City Council’s civil construction and maintenance division employing over 1100 staff across Brisbane.
 
Gary grew up in the regional Queensland towns of Ingham, Mackay, Townsville and Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with wife Sabrina and the couple’s three teenage daughters.
Robert Mitchell

Peter Schwarz
President, The Nationals – Victoria

 

Colin de Grussa  
President, The Nationals – Western Australia

Colin is a third generation farmer from Neridup, north-east of Esperance in southeastern Western Australia.

He was elected president of The Nationals WA in August 2013 after running for the seat of Eyre at the March State election and narrowly missing out on winning.

Growing up Colin attended Castletown Primary School and Esperance Senior High School before moving to Perth to study an advanced certificate in microcomputer technology at the Central Institute of Technology in East Perth.

He used these skills to work in sales and support for a large computer wholesaler, before deciding that regional life suited him better.

Colin then undertook an associate degree in agriculture at Muresk, where he graduated with a distinction.

He moved back to the farm in 1998 and became involved in community and agri-political groups, including Esperance Rural Leadership, the National Council of Young Farmers and WA Farmers.

Colin and his wife Catherine live on their family farm with their three daughters Chloe, Mya and Nyree.

In September 2013 Colin was awarded a prestigious Nuffield Australia 2014 Scholarship and will continue to manage his farming enterprise over the next 12 months while travelling abroad to research how farmers across the globe interact with government to benefit their industry.

 

Mr Grantley Siviour
President, The Nationals – South Australia

Grantley is a wheat and sheep farmer from Cleve on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
He and wife Tricia have three children and are heavily involved in their local community, as well as operating their farming interests.
 
Grantley joined the Nationals in 1980, as an inaugural SA Young Country Party member, and over the next three decades has held nearly every position possible at branch and State level in the South Australian National Party.
 
He served as State Director from 1990-1996, State Vice President from 1997-2002, State Treasurer since 2002, has been a candidate in State elections on three occasions, and Campaign Director for other candidates at State and Federal elections.
 
With a rural background, experience in the stock & station industry in his younger days, and an accounting background he has always championed the causes of the forgotten people in the rural and regional areas.
 
He has been an elected member on the Cleve District Council for several years and currently chairs several community organisations.
 
His involvement in politics and knowledge of political processes ensures he is constantly sourced for information within his local community.
 
Grantley’s contribution to the SA Nationals and his selfless involvement at State level for twenty five years was acknowledged in 2010 with a Life Membership.
 
With South Australia being a predominantly metropolitan based, traditional Labor state, Grantley believes the Nationals still have a vital role in delivering representation to those who most need it in the regional areas of the state. 
 
 

Ross Connolly
President, Country Liberals (Northern Territory)