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WHIPS IN SMALL PARLIAMENTS


• Negotiation of finishing times and thus commencement of the adjourn- ment debate; • Informing the Clerk if business is to continue beyond the conclusion time specified in Standing Orders, and • Advising all government Members and staff of extension of debates beyond that time.


Assistance is also provided to the


Manager of Government Business in his or her management of the government business agenda and associated time management of that agenda.


• Advising the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure on items of business scheduled for debate, where the government is ready or not ready for debate.


Liaison with the opposition and


the cross-bench regarding the time management of non-executive business of the House includes:


• Negotiation of numbers of speakers;


Parliamentary precinct business Whips from each party assist the Speaker in the conduct of parliamentary precinct business in a variety of ways. As a Member of the Standing


Committee on Administration and Procedure, the Whips assist the Speaker in the management of the precinct which would include:


• Advice on compilation of precinct budget; • Precinct security; • Car parking; • Office allocation and manage- ment; • Advice on Members’ entitlements


where they are within the province of the Speaker; • Advice on proposals for change to Standing Orders or operational procedures; • Process and charges relating to access to precinct facilities, and • Media access.


Pastoral care business Whips from all sectors of the Parliament should provide a pastoral care service not only to their own party colleagues but also, in conjunction with fellow Whips and outside assistance, to all Members of Parliament. These services would include:


• Providing interpretations of Standing and Temporary Orders, the Companion to the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly Standing and Temporary Orders and related authorities (in our context these are Australia’s House of Representatives Practice and publications by Odgers on Australian Senate practice and Erskine May on United Kingdom House of Com- mons practice); • Providing advice and/or counsel- ling to Members where they appear to be in personal difficulty regarding the performance of their parliamen- tary duties; • Providing training for newly ap- pointed Ministers and newly elected


Members on the processes and procedures in the Chamber and in the precinct; • Providing training and or mentor- ing for junior Members and their staff on parliamentary procedures and processes; • Providing advice to Members on questions of probity and conflicts of interest, both perceived and real, and • Providing advice and counselling or referral to Members where they appear to be experiencing difficulty in their private affairs and where this can have a detrimental effect on the Member.


Smoothing the path, parliamentary and personal Whips play a complex role in the conduct of business in Parliament and provide a support service to Members. These roles are often either not understood or misunderstood; yet when they are delivered effectively, they enable the smooth conduct of business, a counterpoint at times to the often hostile environment within the adversarial parliamentary system operating in most Commonwealth countries. The services of the Whips provide


a safety check on the welfare of Members as they struggle to survive in an emotion-charged, stressful and – dare it be said – dangerous profession.


The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three | 181


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