List of whips in the Australian House of Representatives

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Whips have managed business and maintained party discipline for Australia's federal political parties in the House of Representatives since Federation. As the number of Members of Parliament and amount of business before the House has increased, so too has the number of whips. The three parties represented in the 1st Parliament each employed one whip. Each of today's three main parties maintains a chief whip, while the Australian Labor Party and Liberals each have an additional two whips and the Nationals have one additional whip. Until 1994, a party's more senior whip held the title "Whip", while the more junior was styled "Deputy Whip". In 1994, those became "Chief Whip" and "Whip", respectively.

While many whips have gone on to serve as ministers, only three have gone on to lead their parties: Labor's Frank Tudor, the Country Party's Earle Page, and the National Party's Mark Vaile. Page is the only one of them to have served as prime minister (albeit for only a short time), and Vaile is the only one to have served as deputy prime minister. Tudor, less auspiciously, was the only of them to serve as leader of the opposition.

Page was also one of four people to serve as whip while representing Cowper, the others being Francis Clarke (Protectionist), John Thomson (Commonwealth Liberal and Nationalist), and Gerry Nehl. As of August 2013, one other constituency has the same distinction: Griffith, represented by William Conelan, William Coutts, Don Cameron, and Ben Humphreys—all of them Labor except Cameron. Oddly, the last three served in the seat consecutively.

Australian Labor Party[edit]

Frank Tudor, Labor's 1st whip and its 6th leader.
James Fenton, Labor Whip 1921–1828, was a minister in the Scullin Government, serving for a time as Acting Prime Minister. He later left Labor and joined the UAP, serving as Postmaster General at the creation of the ABC.
Les Johnson, Labor Whip 1977–1983, later served as Deputy Speaker and as High Commissioner in New Zealand.

Labor's current whips are Chief Whip Chris Hayes and Whips Jill Hall and Joanne Ryan.

Whip Date Deputy Whip Date Leader
Frank Tudor
(Yarra)
12 June 1901[1][2] Chris Watson
Andrew Fisher
David Watkins
(Newcastle)
12 November 1908[3]
Frank Tudor
Jim Page
(Maranoa)
8 July 1913[4]
James Fenton
(Maribyrnong)
3 June 1921[a 1]
Matthew Charlton
James Scullin
Edward Charles Riley
(Cook)
22 October 1929[7]
George Lawson
(Brisbane)
22 October 1934[8]
John Curtin
William Conelan
(Griffith)
6 October 1941[9]
Tom Sheehan
(Cook)
20 September 1943[10]
Ben Chifley
Arthur Fuller
(Hume)
31 October 1946[11]
Fred Daly
(Grayndler)
21 February 1950[12]
H. V. Evatt
Gil Duthie
(Wilmot)
13 February 1956[13]
Arthur Calwell
Wilfred Coutts
(Griffith)
c. 1963[a 2]
Bert James
(Hunter)
8 February 1967[20][21] Gough Whitlam
Brendan Hansen
(Wide Bay)
18 December 1972[22] Martin Nicholls
(Bonython)
18 December 1972[22]
Martin Nicholls
(Bonython)
10 June 1974[a 3] Bert James
(Hunter)
10 June 1974[a 3]
Les Johnson[a 4]
(Hughes)
9 March 1977[25]
Bill Hayden
Keith Johnson
(Burke)
2 February 1978[26]
Ben Humphreys
(Griffith)
8 November 1980[a 5]
Ben Humphreys
(Griffith)
10 March 1983[29] Barry Cunningham
(McMillan)
10 March 1983[29] Bob Hawke
Barry Cunningham
(McMillan)
14 September 1987[30] Tony Lamb
(La Trobe)
14 September 1987[31]
George Gear
(Tangney)
8 May 1990[32] Ted Grace
(Fowler)
8 May 1990[33]
Paul Keating
Leo McLeay[a 6]
(Watson)
24 March 1993[34]


Chief Whip Date Whip Date Whip Date Leader
Leo McLeay[a 6]
(Watson)
24 March 1993 Ted Grace
(Fowler)
8 May 1990 Rod Sawford
(Port Adelaide)
12 May 1994[35] Paul Keating
Kim Beazley
Bob Sercombe
(Maribyrnong)
20 October 1998[36]
Janice Crosio
(Prospect)
22 November 2001[37] Michael Danby
(Melbourne Ports)
22 November 2001[38] Harry Quick
(Franklin)
22 November 2001[39] Simon Crean
Mark Latham
Roger Price
(Chifley)
22 October 2004[40] Jill Hall
(Shortland)
22 October 2004[41][42]
Kim Beazley
Kevin Rudd
Chris Hayes
(Fowler)
3 December 2007[43][44]
Julia Gillard
Joel Fitzgibbon
(Hunter)
27 September 2010[45][46]
Ed Husic
(Chifley)
5 July 2011[47][48]
Janelle Saffin
(Page)
27 November 2012[49][50]
Chris Hayes
(Fowler)
14 May 2013[43][44] Graham Perrett
(Moreton)
14 May 2013[51][52] Rob Mitchell
(McEwen)
14 May 2013[53][54]
Kevin Rudd
Jill Hall 14 October 2013[41][42] Joanne Ryan 16 October 2013[55] Bill Shorten
Notes
  1. ^ Fenton became acting Whip at Page's death.[5] The arrangement was made permanent on 29 September that year.[6]
  2. ^ Gil Duthie, the Labor Whip, noted in a debate in November 1968 that the position of Deputy Whip had been created in the Labor party at his request "four or five" years before his speech.[14] That puts the post's creation in the 24th Parliament, which sat from 20 February 1962 to 30 October 1963, or the 25th Parliament, which sat from 25 February 1963 to 28 October 1966. In a debate in 1963, Duthie referred to Coutts as the "Deputy Whip", though it is unclear whether the title had yet been made formalised.[15] Coutts participated as a teller, a key duty of a whip, in all divisions in 1962,[16] 1963,[17] and 1964 where Labor and the Coalition were on opposite sides except two in May 1964 and the ones during and immediately before a trip on parliamentary business[18] as part of Australia's delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.[19]
  3. ^ a b Nicholls and James were the Whip and Deputy Whip, respectively for the 29th Parliament.[23] Caucus elections were held on 10 June 1974.[24]
  4. ^ Later Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  5. ^ Humphreys was the Deputy Whip beginning with the 32nd Parliament,[27] and caucus elections were held on 8 November 1980.[28]
  6. ^ a b Previously Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives

Coalition[edit]

Liberal Party of Australia[edit]

Allan Guy, the Liberals' 1st whip, lost his seat to Gil Duthie, eventually a Labor whip.
Hubert "Oppy" Opperman, whip 1955–60, was a world famous cyclist, and later a Cabinet minister.

The Liberal chief whip is Philip Ruddock.

Whip Date Deputy Whip Date Leader
Allan Guy
(Wilmot)
21 February 1945[l 1] Robert Menzies
Allan McDonald
(Corangamite)
8 November 1946[59]
Jo Gullett
(Henty)
16 February 1950[60]
Reginald Swartz
(Darling Downs)
c. Sept 1950[61]
Hubert Opperman
(Corio)
20 August 1952[62]
Hubert Opperman
(Corio)
15 December 1955[63] Henry Pearce
(Capricornia)
Unknown[l 2]
Henry Pearce
(Capricornia)
5 February 1960[64] William Aston[l 3]
(Phillip)
10 March 1960[65]
Fred Chaney, Sr.
(Perth)
23 January 1962[66] Peter Howson
(Fawkner)
23 February 1962[67]
Peter Howson
(Fawkner)
22 December 1963[68] William Aston[l 3]
(Phillip)
22 December 1963[68]
William Aston[l 3]
(Phillip)
10 June 1964[69] Bert Kelly
(Wakefield)
c. August 1964[l 4]
Harold Holt
Dudley Erwin
(Ballarat)
21 February 1967[71] James Killen
(Moreton)
21 February 1967[71]
Kevin Cairns
(Lilley)
23 August 1967[72]
John Gorton
Max Fox
(Henty)
12 February 1969[73]
Geoffrey Giles
(Angas)
24 November 1969[74]
William McMahon
Billy Snedden
Victor Garland
(Curtin)
14 June 1974[75] Don Cameron
(Griffith)
14 June 1974[76]
Malcolm Fraser
John Bourchier
(Bendigo)
26 March 1975[77]
John Hodges
(Petrie)
16 March 1978[78][79]
Ross McLean
(Perth)
May 1982[80]
Don Dobie
(Cook)
16 March 1983[81] Ewen Cameron
(Indi)
16 March 1983[82] Andrew Peacock
Ewen Cameron
(Indi)
9 September 1985[82] Neil Andrew[l 3]
(Wakefield)
9 September 1985[83] John Howard
Michael MacKellar
(Warringah)
12 May 1989[84] David Hawker[l 3]
(Wannon)
12 May 1989[85] Andrew Peacock
Bob Halverson[l 3]
(Casey)
11 April 1990[86] Neil Andrew[l 3]
(Wakefield)
11 April 1990[83] John Hewson
Rod Atkinson
(Isaacs)
7 April 1993[87] Paul Filing
(Moore)
7 April 1993[88]
Chief Whip Date Whip Date Whip Date Leader
Bob Halverson[l 3][l 5]
(Casey)
26 May 1994[86] David Hawker[l 5]
(Wannon)
26 May 1994[85] John Bradford
(McPherson)
2 June 1994[89] Alexander Downer
Kathy Sullivan[l 6]
(Moncrieff)
20 October 1994[90]
John Howard
Alan Cadman
(Mitchell)
11 March 1996[91] Stewart McArthur
(Corangamite)
11 March 1996[92] Trish Worth
(Adelaide)
11 March 1996[93]
Neil Andrew[l 3]
(Wakefield)
11 July 1997[83] Peter Slipper[l 3]
(Fisher)
11 July 1997[94]
Michael Ronaldson
(Ballarat)
18 October 1998[95] Kay Elson
(Forde)
18 October 1998[96]
Jim Lloyd
(Robertson)
23 November 2001[97] Joanna Gash
(Gilmore)
23 November 2001[98]
Kerry Bartlett
(Macquarie)
18 July 2004[99]
Alex Somlyay
(Fairfax)
12 February 2008[100] Nola Marino
(Forrest)
12 February 2008[101][102] Michael Johnson
(Ryan)
12 February 2008[103] Brendan Nelson
Malcolm Turnbull
Tony Abbott
Patrick Secker
(Barker)
26 February 2010[104]
Warren Entsch
(Leichhardt)
14 September 2010[105]
Philip Ruddock
(Berowra)
18 September 2013[106] Scott Buchholz
(Wright)
18 September 2013[107]
Notes
  1. ^ Allan Guy was appointed whip of the United Australia Party on 12 February 1941[56] He continued as whip of the new Liberal Party from the founding of the parliamentary party,[57] announced by Robert Menzies on 21 February 1945.[58]
  2. ^ While the date is uncertain, it is clear that Pearce was Deputy Whip at the time of his promotion to Whip.[64]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Later Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
  4. ^ Parliament adjourned on 20 May 1964 and returned on 11 August. On 10 June,[69] the Whip, Peter Howson, was promoted to Minister of Air, and his deputy, William Aston, was promoted to replace him. Kelly then replaced Aston as Deputy Whip. A National Archives of Australia document records his service as 1 August 1964 to 28 February 1967.[70] Unfortunately, those documents use the first or last day of a month for the date a term began or ended, respectively, when the exact day is unknown. This can be seen, for example, with Kelly's end date of 28 February 1967, when the actual date was in fact 21 February.[71] It is likely therefore that Kelly's appointment happened somewhere from 1 to 11 August 1964. It is also possible that he was appointed Deputy Whip as early as 10 June and that the document is based on paperwork filed when the House of Representatives convened in August.
  5. ^ a b Halverson and Hawker were appointed Liberal Whip and Deputy Whip, respectively, on 26 May 1994, but took the new titles of Chief Whip and Whip a week later, on 2 June.[86][85]
  6. ^ As Kathy Martin, Sullivan served as the Liberal deputy whip in the Senate from 1975 to 1977.[90]

Country Party/National Party of Australia[edit]

Dr Earle Page was the Country Party's first whip and second leader. He served as Treasurer and, briefly, Prime Minister.
Mark Vaile, whip 1996–97, was later leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.

The Nationals' chief whip is Mark Coulton, and his deputy is George Christensen.

Whip Date Deputy Whip Date Leader
Earle Page[n 1]
(Cowper)
25 February 1920[108] William McWilliams
William Gibson
(Corangamite)
5 April 1921[109] Earle Page
Percy Stewart
(Wimmera)
16 January 1923[110]
John Prowse[n 2]
(Forrest)
9 February 1923[111]
James Hunter
(Maranoa)
8 August 1924[112]
Victor Thompson
(New England)
14 November 1934[113]
Horace Nock
(Riverina)
30 November 1937[114]
Archie Cameron
Bernard Corser
(Wide Bay)
16 April 1940[115]
Arthur Fadden
Charles Davidson
(Dawson)
21 February 1950[12]
Winton Turnbull
(Mallee)
14 February 1956[116]
John McEwen
Doug Anthony
John England
(Calare)
10 October 1972[117]
James Corbett
(Maranoa)
c. 17 February 1976[118] Peter Fisher
(Mallee)
c. 17 February 1976[119]
Peter Fisher
(Mallee)
28 August 1980[119]
Noel Hicks
(Riverina, Riverina-Darling)
21 April 1983[120]
Ian Sinclair
Garry Nehl[n 2]
(Cowper)
12 May 1989[121] Charles Blunt
Tim Fischer
Chief Whip Date Whip Date Leader
Noel Hicks
(Riverina)
21 April 1983[120] Garry Nehl
(Cowper)
12 May 1989[121] Tim Fischer
Mark Vaile[n 3]
(Lyne)
29 April 1996[122]
Larry Anthony
(Richmond)
21 October 1997[123]
John Forrest
(Mallee)
10 November 1998[124] Paul Neville
(Hinkler)
23 October 1998[125]
John Anderson
Mark Vaile
Kay Hull
(Riverina)
14 August 2006[126]
Warren Truss
Mark Coulton
(Parkes)
14 September 2010[127][128]
George Christensen 17 October 2013[129]
Notes
  1. ^ Later Leader of the Country Party (1922–39) and Prime Minister of Australia (1939).
  2. ^ a b Later Later Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  3. ^ Later Leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister (2005–07)

Defunct parties[edit]

Free Trade/Anti-Socialist Party[edit]

Austin Chapman (Protectionist) was Australia's first government whip, and later served under Alfred Deakin in various capacities.
Whip Date Leader
Sydney Smith
(Macquarie)
10 May 1901[130] George Reid
William Wilks
(Dalley)
3 September 1904[131][d 1]
Willie Kelly
(Wentworth)
20 February 1907[136]
Joseph Cook

Protectionist Party[edit]

Whip Date Leader
Austin Chapman
(Eden-Monaro)
17 May 1901[137] Edmund Barton
Francis Clarke
(Cowper)
29 September 1903[138] Alfred Deakin
James Hume Cook
(Bourke)
1 March 1904[139]

Commonwealth Liberal Party[edit]

Elliot Johnson (Liberal) was the first whip later elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Whip Date Whip Date Leader
James Hume Cook
(Bourke)
21 June 1909[140] Alfred Deakin
Elliot Johnson[d 2]
(Lang)
by 1 July 1910[141]
Walter Massy Greene
(Richmond)
10 July 1913[142] John Thomson
(Cowper)
10 July 1913[142]
Joseph Cook

National Labor[edit]

Whip Date Leader
Reginald Burchell
(Fremantle)
14 November 1916[143] Billy Hughes

Nationalist Party of Australia[edit]

Whip Date Whip Date Leader
Walter Massy Greene
(Richmond)
13 June 1917[d 3] John Thomson
(Cowper)
13 June 1917[d 3] Billy Hughes
John Thomson
(Cowper)
William Story
(Boothby)
c. 25 April 1918[d 4]
William Story
(Boothby)
3 February 1920[156] Reginald Burchell
(Fremantle)
3 February 1920[156][157]
Charles Marr
(Parkes)
c. 21 October 1921[158]
Charles Marr
(Parkes)
9 February 1923[111] Stanley Bruce
Arthur Manning
(Macquarie)
6 September 1927[159]
John Perkins
(Eden-Monaro)
27 January 1929[160]
James Bayley[d 5]
(Oxley)
19 November 1929[161] John Latham

United Australia Party[edit]

Whip Date Whip Date Leader
James Bayley[d 5]
(Oxley)
8 May 1931[162][163] John Price
(Boothby)
8 May 1931[162] Joseph Lyons
Sydney Gardner
(Robertson)
10 February 1932[164]
Robert Menzies
John Price
(Boothby)
19 November 1940[165]
Allan Guy
(Wilmot)
12 February 1941[56]
Billy Hughes
Robert Menzies

Lang Labor[edit]

New South Wales Premier and Labor Party Leader Jack Lang's adherents in the Federal Parliament crossed the floor in 1931 to defeat Labor Prime Minister James Scullin, precipitating the 1931 election. Following the election, Lang's NSW Labor Party expelled members who, being loyal to the federal party, had stood against official NSW Labor candidates. The federal party then expelled Lang and his supporters. Lang's four supporters formed their own parliamentary party, with Jack Beasley (who had led the faction within the Labor Party) as leader. The party expanded to nine following the 1934 election and at their pre-sessional meeting in October re-elected Beasley and elected a deputy leader and whip. Following Scullin's resignation as Labor leader in late 1935, the Lang and Official Labor began negotiating a resolution to the split, and the two parties formally adopted an agreement under which the NSW Labor Party was absorbed back into the federal party on 25 February 1936.[166]

Whip Date Leader
Joe Gander 24 October 1934[167][168] Jack Beasley
Notes
  1. ^ Identically worded news stories appeared in news papers in July 1905 following the fall of the Reid Government that suggested Sydney Smith would resume the whipship.[132] Wilks, however, continued as whip.[133][134][135] These reports may have been simple misreporting, or the appointment of Smith may have been due to Wilks's intention at that point to nominate for Deputy Speaker; Wilks, in the end, did not put himself forward. Smith may have been a placeholder due to the unlikelihood of Wilks's success given the state of the parties, or Wilks may have been given back the role of whip when he chose not to stand for Deputy Speaker.
  2. ^ Later Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
  3. ^ a b Massy Greene and Thomson were the whips of the Commonwealth Liberal Party when it entered a coalition with the Prime Minister Hughes's National Labor Party.[144][145] The coalition followed a schism months earlier when Hughes and his supporters were expelled from the Australian Labor Party, of which Hughes was until then the leader, over conscription of soldiers for the First World War. The Liberal whips acted as de facto government whips during the period between schism and the coalition agreement.[146] Hughes soon called an election in May 1917, at which the two parties formally merged and after which Massy Greene was reported in the press as continuing as Nationalists' whip in the new Parliament,[147] though he and Thomson were both government whips during that Parliament until Massy Greene was made an Honorary Minister in March 1918.[148][149][150][151]
  4. ^ Story acted as a teller for all divisions bar two from 25 April to end of the Parliament[154][155] and was senior whip in the succeeding Parliament (following Thomson's defeat), therefore he was almost certainly junior whip following Massy Greene's appointment as a minister.
  5. ^ a b Later Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

References[edit]

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