Current Federal Parliamentary Party Leaders

Each political party represented in the Federal Parliament elects leaders in each house.

Just as the government is decided in the House of Representatives, so the parties elect their leaders and deputy leaders from amongst their representatives in the House. If the party is not represented in the lower house, its leader will be chosen from amongst its members in the Senate.

House of Representatives
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party John Howard
Member for Bennelong (NSW)
Peter Costello
Member for Higgins (Vic)
National Party Mark Vaile
Member for Lyne (NSW)
Warren Truss
Member for Wide Bay (Qld)
Australian Labor Party Kevin Rudd
Member for Griffith (Qld)
Julia Gillard
Member for Lalor (Vic)


The major parties also elect leaders and deputy leaders in the Senate. These people form part of the leadership group and act as the focal point for their parties in the upper house.

For example, the current Liberal Party leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, is referred to as the Government Leader in the Senate. Senator Chris Evans is referred to as the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Senate
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party Senator Nick Minchin
(South Australia)
Senator Helen Coonan
(New South Wales)
National Party Senator Ron Boswell
(Queensland)
Senator Nigel Scullion
(Northern Territory)
Australian Labor Party Senator Chris Evans
(Western Australia)
Senator Stephen Conroy
(Victoria)
Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett
(Queensland)
Senator Lyn Allison
(Victoria)
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown
(Tasmania)
-
Family First Senator Steve Fielding
(Victoria)
-


Footnote: Convention dictates that the official leader of the main parties will be a member of the House of Representatives. In 1968, following the death of its Prime Minister, Harold Holt, the Liberal Party chose its upper house leader, Senator John Gorton, as the new prime minister. Gorton immediately resigned his Senate seat and contested the by-election for Holt’s lower house electorate, Higgins. Thus, Australia had a prime minister for several weeks who was not a member of either house. This is allowed for in Section 64 of the Constitution.


Howard Ministry; Nelson To Defence; Nats Lose; Turnbull Tapped

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced changes to his ministry, moving Brendan Nelson from Education to Defence and promoting the Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, into Cabinet as Education Minister. The PM has also promoted Mal Brough from Assistant Treasurer into Cabinet to replace Kay Patterson as Minister for a revamped Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio.

The National Party’s De-Anne Kelly has been dropped from the Ministry and becomes a Parliamentary Secretary, as a result of yesterday’s defection of Nationals Senator Julian McGauran to the Liberal Party. In a move that will cause further angst for the junior coalition partner, the Nationals lose a place in the ministry but gain an additional Parliamentary Secretary’s position. Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile remains Minister for Trade.

Other major positions in the government remain unchanged, with Peter Costello (Treasurer), Alexander Downer (Foreign Affairs), Tony Abbott (Health), Nick Minchin (Finance), Philip Ruddock (Attorney-General) and Kevin Andrews (Workplace Relations) all unchanged.

Senator Amanda Vanstone has had her wings clipped. She retains Immigration but loses Indigenous Affairs which goes to Mal Brough’s expanded Families portfolio. [Read more…]


Howard Shuffles Ministry; Labor Caucus Meets Next Week

John HowardPrime Minister John Howard will announce his second term ministry on Sunday.

Yesterday, the Australian Electoral Commission advised the government that it could now declare that at least 75 seats have been won by the government and Howard accordingly declared the caretaker period of government over.

Coalition members will meet in Canberra this week ahead of Howard’s weekend announcement. The ALP Caucus will meet next week to elect its shadow ministry.

There is at least one vacancy in the ministry, given the retirement of the Defence Minister, Ian McLachlan. Some newspaper reports suggest that Peter Reith may be moved to this portfolio, whilst others predict a promotion for Senator Nick Minchin. [Read more…]