The Hon. Fiona Nash
Women in Federal Parliament

The Hon. Fiona Nash

Senator for New South Wales

NP, 2005–2017

The Hon. Fiona Nash on her family property in 2005.

Image courtesy of Newspix/News Limited.

A farmer from Crowther, near Young, Fiona Nash was elected as a senator for NSW in 2004 promising to be 'a champion of the bush'. The first female from The Nationals to serve as deputy leader and sit in cabinet, Nash first came to Parliament House to work as a receptionist in a minister's office during a lean time on the farm and soon after became a political staffer.

As Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health, she focused on improving services in regional and remote Australia. Nash oversaw the implementation of the Indigenous health plan and was involved in the National Ice Taskforce, participating in community forums across the country. In cabinet, she successfully advocated for a ministerial taskforce on building sustainable regional communities. Among her achievements, she listed the Building Better Regions Fund and her role in stopping the foreign takeover of grain handling and marketing company, GrainCorp.

Nash sacrificed a place in the shadow ministry in 2008 when she crossed the floor to vote against tax concessions for forests to capture carbon, arguing the scheme would lead to a loss of prime agricultural land. With three other female senators, she co-sponsored a cross-party private senator's bill to lift the ban on the abortion drug RU486.

Nash left the Senate after the High Court ruled she held dual citizenship and was therefore ineligible to stand for Parliament.