About The Nationals
The Nationals have proudly been representing the voice of rural and regional Victorians in Parliament since 1917.
The Nationals is the only party that truly represents the interests of rural and regional Australia. Its origins stem back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when organisations from rural and regional Australia agreed that little attention had been paid to areas other than urban centres. Representatives from these regions united to form what is now known as The Nationals.
The Nationals have evolved considerably over the last century. At inception The Nationals were known as the Country Party and were first elected to Federal government in 1949 in coalition with the Liberal Party. In 1977 the party changed its name to the National Country Party and following that, the National Party in October 1982. Since re-branding in 2003, the party is now referred to as The Nationals.
In Victoria, The Nationals first entered Parliament in 1917 gaining four seats in the Legislative Assembly. Today, the Victorian Nationals hold 10 seats in the Legislative Assembly and three in the Legislative Council. Click here to find out more about the Victorian Nationals team.
The Victorian Federal parliamentary team is:
- Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, Leader of the Nationals in the Senate
- Member for Mallee, Anne Webster MP
- Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel
Click here to find out more about The Nationals Federal Parliamentary team.
Our base and heart is in rural Victoria, its regional towns and its cities. Our first priority is, and always has been, to the people to live and work in these communities. Peter Walsh leads The Nationals and the Victorian Parliamentary team, ensuring country Victoria is put first in our State Parliament.
With a proud history of achievement and strong membership the great strengths of The Nationals are its membership and democratic processes. The party is made up of autonomous State organisations each with its own constitution and membership.
Members belong to branches and through those develop policy motions that go to State and Federal councils and conferences. If carried by those meetings they become Party policy. No other political party involves its membership so broadly in its policy processes.
Australia and The Nationals
The Nationals is the only political party dedicated to advancing the interests of Australians who live their lives, work and establish their businesses in regional and rural communities. Working together as a strong and united team means our MPs and Senators have developed a reputation for punching above their weight, and are sometimes criticised for delivering more for the people they represent than the party’s critics would prefer. The increasing economic, social and environmental relevance of the regions has only strengthened our belief that the future of regional Australia is critical to the future of the nation.
The Nationals provide a strong voice and give perspective on these issues in the Federal Parliament:
- The growing global demand for food and bio-fuels.
- Many of the potential solutions to Australia’s carbon emissions are agricultural or regionally based.
- Regional water supplies around the nation are being increasingly relied on to supply our cities.
- The mining industry has grown massively and will continue to grow. – The growth of regional tourism to date and its future potential.
- Continuing decentralisation – the “tree-change” and “sea-change” phenomenon; where people are moving to regional areas for a better lifestyle.
- Communications and technology advancements that are making it easier for people to do so and making it easier for businesses to relocate to regional communities.
- Technology that offers enormous potential to fuel the further growth of our food and fibre industries.
- The emerging demand for “green” industries and energy supplies.
Rural Australia is growing its contribution to the nation’s GDP and as a result, we are seeing regional population growth and the emergence of a ‘new economy.’ In a resource-hungry world, regional Australia is also beginning to play an increasingly critical role in our national security. There is significant potential for regional Australia and unlocking these possibilities will require vision, planning and proactive management. We need to be sure that regional Australia gets its fair share of public and private investment in services and infrastructure. Our Nationals team is focused on protecting regional Australians from ill-informed and clumsy policy – because regional Australia often has the most to lose from policies that threaten local industries and jobs, reduce services and increase business and household costs. Given that the Australian Parliament is dominated by city-based MPs and Senators, The Nationals provide a vital balance to those city-centric views and our MPs stand up for the interests of the seven million people living in rural and regional Australia. We provide our nation with a considered, balanced and common sense perspective on all elements of public policy. The Nationals ensure that regional Australia’s voice is heard.
Click here to read The Nationals policy platform and individual policies.