Party whips play a unique role in our political system. They are essentially the managers of political parties, responsible for ensuring their members take part in debates and divisions, setting the sitting day agenda, and counting the votes in a division. They also negotiate ‘pairs’ from opposing parties to sit out of divisions if one of their members cannot attend, to maintain the balance between government and opposition numbers.
As the NSW Parliament Whips revealed in our latest Parliament Unpacked panel, the role also involves providing pastoral care for members. “You’re a mentor, you’re a psychologist, you are the keeper of all secrets,” explains Anna Watson MP, Opposition Whip.
This cracking panel discussion featured Government Whips Nathaniel Smith MP (Legislative Assembly) and Scott Farlow MLC (Legislative Council) and Opposition Whips Anna Watson MP (LA) and Mark Buttigieg MLC (LC). Watch the full discussion on YouTube to learn more about the highs and lows of this unusual job:
Stay informed about upcoming programs like this one by subscribing to the NSW Parliament Events Mailing List.