Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston has been appointed the Senior Deputy Government Whip in the Senate.
Senator Ruston, who became a senator in October 2012, will take up her new position from 1 July 2014.
“With new senators elected in 2013 taking their seats and other senators retiring, there’s been a minor reshuffle of chamber roles and I’ve been honoured with the senior deputy whip position,” she said. “I’m looking forward to my new responsibilities.”
Senator Ruston paid tribute to outgoing Coalition senators Ron Boswell (Nationals, Queensland), Alan Eggleston (Liberals, Western Australia), Sue Boyce (Liberals, Queensland) and Helen Kroger (Liberals, Victoria).
“We’re losing a collective total of 63 years’ experience and distinguished service with the departure of these four senators and I’m very sorry to see them go,” she said. “I wish them the very best for the future.”
Major parties in the Senate have a chief whip and two deputy whips. Their responsibilities include:
- meeting with opposing whips to plan the Parliamentary day, set the agenda and sort out procedural details;
- organising speakers for debates and Bills;
- ensuring the attendance in the chamber of party members for divisions, and counting votes in divisions; and
- ensuring party decisions are carried out.
Senator Ruston said with eight cross-bench senators taking their seats from 1 July in addition to 10 Greens senators, negotiations were likely to be more complex than usual.
“There will be a plethora of minor and micro parties and independents collectively holding the balance of power and I this will present additional challenges in the Senate,” she said. “I look forward to playing a role in my new position and helping to drive the Abbott Government’s mandated legislative agenda.”