Young Nationals (Australia)

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Young Nationals
PresidentDaniel Banks
Headquarters7 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600
Mother partyNational Party of Australia
International affiliationInternational Young Democrat Union
Young Nationals at 2015 Federal Conference in Canberra

The Young Nationals is the youth division of the National Party of Australia, with membership open to those between 15 and 35 years of age. Young Nationals also have full party membership, and partake in state and federal conferences with equal rights to members of the senior party. They are active in National Party campaigning during all state and federal elections. It was first formed in Queensland in 1957,[1] with other states following in subsequent years.

The movement is predominantly organised on the state division level, with each state organising its own events and policy as well as electing its own executive. In 2007 the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party of Australia and the Queensland National Party merged to become the Liberal National Party of Queensland (A division of the Federal Liberal Party and an affiliate of the Federal National Party). As part of this merger process, the Queensland Young Liberals and the Queensland Young Nationals were merged to become the Young Liberal National Party (Young LNP). The Young LNP is effectively the Queensland division of both the federal Young Liberals and the federal Young Nationals, and is the largest division of each of these movements. The federal executive of the Young Nationals comprises members elected from delegations from each affiliated state Young Nationals organisation, and the President of each affiliate. Policy can also be adopted by the movement's federal body. These policies are often then advocated by the Federal Young Nationals on the floor of the Federal Council of the National Party of Australia, as well as in representations made directly to members of parliament.

Political impact[edit]

Politically, the Young Nationals have had an increasingly significant impact on overall National Party policy and machinations in recent years. Young Nationals notably changed the party platform to oppose any form of mandatory ISP-level internet censorship[2][3] and have also expressed strong federalist sentiments, having spearheaded a push to abolish the national curriculum.[4] The Young Nationals also voted on a motion to support same-sex marriage and free votes on the issue.[5][6] The movement has also been one of the stronger elements in the National Party that has expressed support for voluntary student unionism (VSU),[7][8] eventually persuading Senator Fiona Nash to ditch the parliamentary party's opposition to VSU.[9]

Current federal executive[edit]

Position Office-bearer State
President Daniel Banks Northern Territory (CLP)
Vice-President Alessia Maruca Queensland (LNP)
Secretary Nat Openshaw New South Wales
Treasurer Alysia Smith New South Wales
Policy Officer Brendan Tam Victoria
Campaigns Officer Kurt Tucker Queensland (LNP)
Fundraising Officer William Rollo Queensland (LNP)
Publicity Officer Douglas Rodgers Queensland (LNP)
Immediate Past President Ruby Cameron Victoria
New South Wales President Jock Sowter
Victorian President Rebecca Treloar
Northern Territory President (CLP) Vacant
Queensland President (LNP) Nelson Savanh
South Australian President Matthew Gadsden
Western Australian President Heather York

Past presidents[edit]

Ordinal Year President State Notes
1 1968 The Hon. Mike Ahern AO, FTSE Queensland Subsequently the Member for Landsborough and Premier of Queensland
2 1975–1976 Gary Pike Queensland
3 1976–1977 Garry West New South Wales Subsequently the Member for Orange and Minister in the Greiner and Fahey coalition governments
4 1977–1979 The Hon. Pat McNamara Victoria Subsequently the Member for Benalla and Deputy Premier of Victoria in the Kennett coalition government
5 1979–1981 Michael Behan Queensland
6 1981–1983 Nigel Smith New South Wales
7 1983–1985 Gerard Walsh Queensland
8 1985–1987 Julian Anderson Queensland
9 1987–1988 Judy Brewer Victoria Later the wife of former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Tim Fischer
10 1988–1989 Aldo Borgu Queensland
11 1989–1991 Angus Calder New South Wales
12 1991-1993 Duncan Anderson Western Australia
13 1993-1994 Daniel Kelliher Victoria
14 1994–1996 Meredith Dickie Victoria Later the State Director of the Victorian Nationals 2002-2005
15 1996–1997 Donald Burnett Queensland
16 1997–1998 Douglas Doyle New South Wales
17 1998–1999 Robert Macaulay New South Wales
18 1999–2000 Stuart Copeland Queensland Subsequently the Member for Cunningham
19 2001–2002 Scott Mitchell Victoria Subsequently the Federal Director of the National Party
20 2002–2004 Tim Dixon New South Wales
21 2004–2006 Chris Kahler Queensland
22 2006–2008 Damian Callachor New South Wales Subsequently the Chief of Staff to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack
23 2008–2009 The Hon. Martin Aldridge MLC Western Australia Subsequently a Member for the Agricultural region
24 2009–2011 The Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC New South Wales Subsequently a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and Minister in the Berejiklian coalition government
25 2011–2014 Cr Cameron O'Neil Queensland
26 2014 - 2018 Ruby Cameron Victoria

Infiltration by neo-Nazis[edit]

In 2018, it was revealed that the NSW Young Nationals had been infiltrated by a significant number of neo-Nazis with a number of members being investigated for alleged links to neo-Nazism. Party leader Michael McCormack denounced these attempts stating that "The Nationals will not tolerate extremism or the politics of hate. People found to engage with such radicalism are not welcome in our party. We are a grassroots party proudly championing what matters most to our regional and rural communities – always has been, always will be." Several suspected neo-Nazis were expelled from the party and its youth wing. The leader of the NSW Nationals, John Barilaro, also denounced racism and fascism within the party stating that “I have no problems calling this out, this is something I’m very strong on, I do not accept racism,”[10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ Cervini, Erica (1 September 1999). "Party time". The Age.
  2. ^ "Latest topics". ZDNet. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ "National Party members vote against internet filter". Delimiter. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Nationals seek to axe single curriculum". The Australian.
  5. ^ Hunter, Fergus (31 August 2015). "NSW Young Nationals support same-sex marriage and condemn party leaders". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ "Young Nationals back gay marriage".
  7. ^ "Nats call for changes to VSU". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 September 2005.
  8. ^ "Nationals vow to defeat emissions laws". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 2009.
  9. ^ "Nationals still oppose compulsory student union fees". ABC News. Australia. 24 July 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2010.
  10. ^ "'These guys are crazy': Barnaby Joyce backs 'Nazi' expulsions after backtrack". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Nationals clear man accused of leading alleged neo-Nazi branch stacking". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  12. ^ Hutchins, Gareth. "Far right extremists 'not welcome' in Nationals, leader says amid investigation". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  13. ^ Michael, McGowen. "NSW Young Nationals expel and suspend members over far-right links". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 4 November 2018.

External links[edit]