Joanna Gash

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Joanna Gash

Mayor of the City of Shoalhaven
In office
8 September 2012 – 17 September 2016
Preceded byPaul Green
Succeeded byAmanda Findley
Member of Parliament for Gilmore
In office
2 March 1996 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byPeter Knott
Succeeded byAnn Sudmalis
Personal details
Born (1944-07-21) 21 July 1944 (age 76)
Groningen, Netherlands
Political party
AwardsOrder of Australia

Joanna Gash AM (born 21 July 1944) is a former Australian politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Gilmore for the Liberal Party from 1996 to 2013. In 2012, Gash was directly elected as the Mayor of the City of Shoalhaven, a local government area in the south-eastern coastal region of New South Wales. In 2016, Gash lost the direct election for Mayor of the City of Shoalhaven to Amanda Findley. She was elected as a Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Shoalhaven.


Gash was born in Groningen in the Netherlands, and emigrated to Australia when she was six. She was educated at Institute of Administration in Sydney. Before entering politics she was a Regional Manager with the Tourism Commission of New South Wales, a guest house co-proprietor,[1] and a Councillor of the Wingecarribee Shire Council. She was for many years a scripture and Sunday School teacher and spent many weekends at the Church of England Camps at the Port Hacking River (Camp Howard).

Political career[edit]

Gash was elected to Federal Parliament at the 1996 federal election. In January 2012, she announced that she would not be contesting the next federal election. At the same time, she announced her intention to stand for the mayoral position at the Shoalhaven City Council elections, due to be held in September 2012.[2] Gash was successful, winning the directly-elected role with 63.19% of the vote.[3] She also led a ticket that saw nine other Councillors elected to the thirteen–member Shoalhaven City Council.[4] Following her election as mayor, there was criticism about her constitutional ability to hold office as a federal Member of Parliament and to hold an office of profit under the crown, as Mayor.[5] Gash vigorously defended her position.[6]

She sought re-election as mayor of City of Shoalhaven at the 2016 NSW Local Council Elections, but lost her position following a massive swing, which saw her lose about half of the vote she won at the 2012 election. Amanda Findley of the Australian Greens was elected as mayor,[7] with Gash being elected as a Ward 2 councillor.

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2017, Gash was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the Parliament of Australia, to local government, and to the community of the Shoalhaven.[8]


  1. ^ "Mrs Joanna Gash MP". Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  2. ^ Wright, Jessica (26 January 2012). "After 15 years, MP to swap national for local". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Mayor Tally Sheet" (PDF). Shoalhaven City Council Election 2012. Australian Election Company. September 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ Arnold, Alex (21 September 2012). "Team Gash to control Shoalhaven council". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. ^ Williams, George (7 September 2012). "MP's aim to become mayor runs a legal risk". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ Packham, Ben; Vasek, Lanai (10 September 2012). "Liberal MP Joanna Gash defends dual role". The Australian. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia (A-L)" (PDF). 2017 Australia Day Honours List. Office of the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Knott
Member for Gilmore
Succeeded by
Ann Sudmalis