Why do we need the party whip?
Thanks for your question, Nathan. The party whip is a member of parliament who is selected by their parliamentary party to take on the role of team manager. Each party has whips who work in the Senate or the House of Representatives.
The whip's role is so diverse and busy that the major parties have a chief whip and 2 deputy whips. The whips have several responsibilities, including:
- meeting with the whips of opposing parties to plan the parliamentary day, set the agenda and sort out procedural details
- organising a list of party members who wish to speak on bills – proposed laws – and other business and giving this to the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives
- making sure all party members attend and vote as a team in a division
- counting and recording the votes in a division
- negotiating 'pairs' from opposing parties, so that numbers between the government and opposition are kept in balance if members of parliament are absent.
Party whips counting the votes in a division in the Senate.
A woman and a man stand on either side of the Clerk's table in the Senate. There are people sitting at the central table.
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