Members and supporters of The Nationals WA gathered in Manjimup over the weekend to convene their annual State Conference.
Joined by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Senators Bridget McKenzie and Matt Canavan, the Party faithful spent the weekend debating motions put forward by Branch representatives, and enjoying the hospitality of the Manjimup community.
A highlight of the weekend was the presentation of Life Membership to Party stalwart Wendy Duncan.
Party President James Hayward said Life Membership was the highest honour that could be bestowed on a member for service to the Party and Wendy was a most worthy recipient.
“Wendy served as the Party’s first ever female President before taking a seat in the State Parliament,” he said.
“She served nine years in the Parliament, starting as Member for the Agricultural Region before successfully contesting the Mining and Pastoral Region and the Legislative Assembly electorate of Kalgoorlie.
“She was elevated to the role of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Regional Development; Lands, and became the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly before stepping down at the 2017 State election.”
Tony Crook, who presented Wendy with the award on Saturday night with Life Member Murray Criddle, said Wendy was well known for her hard work and determination in representing her constituents.
“Wendy was integral in the formation and delivery of Royalties for Regions and a fierce advocate for regional Western Australia,” he said.
“She also found time to capture our history as part of The Nationals WA centenary celebrations in 2013, taking a lead role in the creation of the book Blood Nose Politics.
“We thank Wendy for her service to the Party and commitment to the people of regional Western Australia.”
Mr Hayward will serve his fourth term as President, while Mr Joe Lundy has stepped into the role of Vice President.
“I would like to congratulate Joe on his well-deserved election as Vice President and thank him for his service as our Policy Director over a number of years,” Mr Hayward said. “My sincere thanks to outgoing Deputy President Steve Blyth who has served as Vice President for these past 12 months.”
The Nationals State Executive has welcomed two new delegates – Tony Crook (Kalgoorlie) and Paul Gillett (Brunswick Junction), who take over from Nick Fardell (Kalgoorlie) and Michael Leake (Broome).
Tori Castledine (Esperance) was re-elected as female delegate and will be joined by Louise Kingston (Manjimup), taking over from Heather Giles who did not re-contest the position.
“I can’t thank Nick, Michael and Heather enough for their commitment to serving on the State Executive,” Mr Hayward said. “I look forward to working with the newly elected Executive as we tackle a Federal election and support our Parliamentary team to keep the McGowan Government in check.”