Member for Gilmore (NSW)
Elected at the 1996 federal election as the member for Gilmore (NSW), Joanna Gash served six terms in the House of Representatives for the Liberal Party of Australia.
Gash stated in her first speech: ‘I believe we women were elected because our life experiences have given us the skills to equip us very well for life as a federal member.’ Before entering Parliament Gash had a long career in local government, in the tourism industry and as a guest house proprietor.
In the House Gash served as government whip from 2001 to 2007. She was Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism from 2007 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2010. As chair of a government policy committee on defence and veterans’ affairs, she took a keen interest in defence commemorations and veterans’ entitlements and facilities.
Gash was a forthright advocate for the people of Gilmore and many of her debates on policy were infused with particular examples drawn from the experiences of her constituents, such as advocating seatbelts on school buses, road safety, promoting tourism in her predominantly coastal electorate and the impacts of carbon pricing, youth unemployment and migration on the region.
Prior to her retirement from Parliament at the 2013 election, Joanna Gash was elected mayor of Shoalhaven City Council.