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 House of Representatives or the Senate.
The whip's role is so diverse and busy that the major parties have a chief whip and two 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 Speaker or President
- making sure that all party members attend and vote as a team in a division
- counting and recording the votes in a division
- providing advice and support for party members
- ensuring that party decisions are carried out
- negotiating 'pairs' from opposing parties, so that numbers between the government and opposition are kept in balance if members of parliament are absent.
More information about party whips can be found here.