Parliamentary Leaders


Leader Period of Service  
McWilliams, William James (Tas) 24 Feb 1920 to 5 Apr 1921
Page, Earle Christmas Grafton (NSW) 5 Apr 1921 to 13 Sept 1939
7 Apr 1939 to 26 Apr 1939 Prime Minister
Cameron, Archie Galbraith (SA) 13 Sept 1939 to 16 Oct 1940
Fadden, Arthur William (Qld) 16 Oct 1940 to 12 Mar 1941 (Acting Party Leader)*
12 Mar 1941 to 26 Mar 1958
29 Aug 1941 to 7 Oct 1941 Prime Minister
7 Oct 1941 to 16 Sept 1943 Opposition Leader
McEwen, John (Vic) 26 Mar 1958 to 1 Feb 1971
19 Dec 1967 to 10 Jan 1968 Prime Minister
Anthony, John Douglas (NSW) 2 Feb 1971 to 17 Jan 1984
Sinclair, Ian McCahon (NSW) 17 Jan 1984 to 9 May 1989
Blunt, Charles William (NSW) 9 May 1989 to 6 Apr 1990
Fischer, Timothy Andrew (NSW) 10 Apr 1990 to 1 July 1999
Anderson, John Duncan (NSW) 1 July 1999 to 23 June 2005
Vaile, Mark Anthony James (NSW) 23 June 2005 to 3 Dec 2007
Truss, Warren Errol (Qld) 3 Dec 2007 to 12 Feb 2016
Joyce, Barnaby Thomas Gerard (NSW) 12 Feb 2016 to 27 Oct 2017
6 Dec 2017 to 26 Feb 2018
Scullion, Nigel Gregory (Sen, NT) 27 Oct 2017 to 6 Dec 2017 (Interim Party Leader)**
McCormack, Michael Francis (NSW) 26 Feb 2018 to 21 Jun 2021
Joyce, Barnaby Thomas Gerard (NSW) 21 Jun 2021 to current



Deputy Leader Period of Service  
Jowett, Edmund (Vic) 24 Feb 1920 to 5 Apr 1921
Gregory, Henry (WA) 5 Apr 1921 to 2 Dec 1921***
Fleming, William Montgomerie (NSW) 27 June 1922 to 16 Dec 1922***
Gibson, William Gerrand (Vic) 16 Jan 1923 to 12 Oct 1929
Paterson, Thomas (Vic) 19 Nov 1929 to 30 Nov 1937****
Thorby, Harold Victor Campbell (NSW) 30 Nov 1937 to 21 Sept 1940
Fadden, Arthur William (Qld) 16 Oct 1940 to 12 Mar 1941
12 Mar 1941 to 22 Sept 1943***** Vacant
McEwen, John (Vic) 22 Sept 1943 to 26 Mar 1958
Davidson, Charles William (Qld) 26 Mar 1958 to 1 Nov 1963
Adermann, Charles Frederick (Qld) 25 Feb 1964 to 8 Dec 1966
Anthony, John Douglas (NSW) 9 Dec 1966 to 2 Feb 1971
Sinclair, Ian McCahon (NSW) 2 Feb 1971 to 17 Jan 1984******
Hunt, Ralph James Dunnet (NSW) 17 Feb 1984 to 23 July 1987
Lloyd, Bruce (Vic) 23 July 1987 to 23 Mar 1993
Anderson, John Duncan (NSW) 23 Mar 1993 to 1 July 1999
Vaile, Mark Anthony James (NSW) 1 July 1999 to 23 June 2005
Truss, Warren Errol (Qld) 23 June 2005 to 3 Dec 2007
Scullion, Nigel Gregory (Sen, NT) 3 Dec 2007 to 13 Sep 2013+
Joyce, Barnaby Thomas Gerard (NSW) 13 Sep 2013 to 12 Feb 2016
Nash, Fiona Joy (Sen, NSW) 12 Feb 2016 to 27 Oct 2017++
McKenzie, Bridget (Sen, Vic) 7 Dec 2017 to 26 Feb 2018
Littleproud, David Kelly (QLD) 26 Feb 2018 to current


Notes and Sources

* Page and McEwen tied in the ballot for the leadership. To break the deadlock, the party room agreed to proceed with the election of its deputy leader – for which Fadden had overwhelming support – and then appoint the deputy as acting leader. With the deepening war crisis and Prime Minister Menzies overseas, the party room confirmed Fadden as leader on 12 March 1941. It also agreed to leave the deputy’s position vacant. John McEwen – His Story, pages 8, 27, 28; Fadden, They called me Artie, pages 43-45; Ellis, Country Party, page 257; The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 March 1941, page 6.

**Joyce was advised by the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra on 10/8/17 that he may be a New Zealand citizen by descent in light of his father’s New Zealand heritage, potentially bringing into question his right to serve in the Australian Parliament, as per Section 44 of the Australian Constitution. Joyce requested that the matter be referred for adjudication to the High Court of Australia and immediately took the necessary action to renounce any right to New Zealand citizenship that he might have. On 27/10/17 the High Court ruled him ineligible to be a Parliamentarian. A by-election for his seat of New England, NSW, was announced for 36 days later, on 2/12/17. While Joyce remained the Party’s Federal Leader pending his return at the by-election, Scullion became Interim Parliamentary Leader. The Liberal Party’s Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, became Acting Prime Minister during three absences overseas by the Prime Minister during the by-election period, while the position of Deputy Prime Minister remained vacant. Joyce resumed his portfolio and Deputy Prime Minister responsibilities from 6/12/17 after winning the New England by-election in a landslide.

*** Gregory resigned as deputy leader over a disagreement on Coalition strategy. As the parliament rose for the summer recess on 10 December (and was subsequently prorogued twice) and did not resume until 28 June 1922, the deputy leader’s position was not filled until the pre-sessional Country Party meeting on 27 June 1922, when Fleming was elected. His tenure was short-lived as he lost his NSW seat of Robertson at the election on 16 December 1922. Gibson was elected to replace him at the pre-sessional party meeting on 16 January 1923. The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 1921, page 17, 17 January 1923, page 13; The Argus, Melbourne, 28 June 1922, page 11; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 2005, page 589.

**** The eldest of Page’s three sons, Earle junior, was killed by lightning while moving cattle on the family property, Heifer Station, Grafton, in January 1933. As a result Page was absent from parliament for nine months until 4 October 1933. The party room appointed Paterson acting leader in the meantime. Truant Surgeon, Page, page 263; Ellis, A Pen in Politics, pages 162, 163; Australian Dictionary of Biography ( Bridge, C, Page, Sir Earle Christmas Grafton (1880-1961), vol 11, 1988, pages 118-122; Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, 4 October 1933, page 3195.

***** With the confirmation of Fadden as leader, the party room agreed that ‘with the party reuniting and in light of international events, there was no need for a Deputy to be appointed’. The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 March 1941, page 6.

****** Anthony as Trade minister embarked on a series of international visits in 1976, including to the Soviet Union. He returned unwell to Australia in July. Unable to shake his illness, ultimately identified as hepatitis, he was granted leave from parliament from 20 October and did not return until 1 February 1977. During that period, the party room appointed Ian Sinclair acting leader and Peter Nixon acting deputy. Doug Anthony interviews with author; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 21st edition, Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, 1982.

+ Scullion is a member of the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party and sits with the National Party in the Commonwealth Parliament. He was the first Senator to hold the Deputy Leader’s position, all others, as with Leaders, having come from the Party in the House of Representatives.

++ Nash was ruled ineligible to be a Senator by the High Court of Australia on 27 October 2017, due to her father’s British heritage.

Additional sources:
The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 February 1920, page 2; 6 April 1921, page 10; 3 December 1921, page 17; 17 January 1923, page 13; 20 November1929, page 17; 13 March 1941, page 6; 23 September 1943, page 4. Australian Dictionary of Biography, various volumes – see; Graham, BD, The Formation of Australian Country Parties; Davey, P, The Nationals; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 6th issue 1901-1930, 7th issue 1932, 8th issue, 1931-1935, 16th edition 1965-1968, 21st edition 1982; 28th edition 1999; 30th edition 2005; Who’s Who in Australia, various volumes; Golding, P, Black Jack McEwen, page 333; Transcript, Doug Anthony news conference, Canberra, 2 February 1971; Lundie, R, Commonwealth Parliamentary Library Research Service, Canberra.

Senate Leaders


Leader Period of Service
Hardy, Charles (NSW) 1935 to 1938
Cooper, Walter Jackson (Qld) 1949 to 1960
Wade, Harrie Walter (Vic) 1960 to 1964
McKellar, Gerald Colin (NSW) 1964 to 1969
Drake-Brockman, Thomas Charles (WA) 1969 to 1975
Webster, James Joseph (Vic) 1976 to 1980
Scott, Douglas Barr (NSW) 1980 to 1985
Collard, Stanley James (Qld) 1985 to 1987
Stone, John Owen (Qld) 1987 to 1990
Boswell, Ronald Leslie Doyle (Qld) 1990 to 2007
Scullion, Nigel Gregory (NT) 2007 to 2008
Joyce, Barnaby Thomas Gerrard (Qld) 2008 to 2013
Scullion, Nigel Gregory ( NT) 2013 to 2017
McKenzie, Bridget (VIC) 2017 to current

Party Whips, House of Representatives

Name Electorate (State) Period of Service
Page, Earle Christmas Grafton Cowper (NSW) Jan 1920-Apr 1921
Gibson, William Gerrand Corangamite (Vic) Apr 1921-Jan 1923
Stewart, Percy Gerald Wimmera (Vic) Jan 1923-Feb 1923
Prowse, John Henry Forrest (WA) Feb 1923-Aug 1924
Hunter, James Aitchison Johnston Maranoa (Qld) Aug 1924-Nov 1934
Thompson, Harold Victor Campbell New England (NSW) Nov 1934-Nov 1937
Nock, Horace Keyworth Riverina (NSW) Nov 1937-Sept 1940
Corser, Bernard Henry Wide Bay (Qld) Sept 1940-Apr 1951
Davidson, Charles William Dawson (Qld) Apr 1951-Jan 1956
Turnbull, Winton George Mallee (Vic) Feb 1956-Nov 1972
England, John Armstrong Calare (NSW) Nov 1972-Nov 1975
Corbett, James Maranoa (Qld) Nov 1975-Aug 1980
Fisher, Peter Stanley Mallee (Vic) Aug 1980-Apr 1983
Hicks, Noel Jeffrey Riverina (NSW) Apr 1983-Oct 1998
Forrest, John Alexander Mallee (Vic) Nov 1998-Aug 2006
Hull, Kay Elizabeth Riverina (NSW) Aug 2006 to Jul 2010
Coulton, Mark Maclean Parkes (NSW) Sep 2010 to Aug 2016
Christensen, George Robert Dawson (Qld) Aug 2016 to Mar 2017
Drum, Damian Kevin Murray (Vic) Mar 2017 to Dec 2017
Landry, Michelle Leanne Capricornia (Qld) Dec 2017 to Sep 2018
Drum, Damian Kevin Murray (Vic) Sep 2018 to current

Notes and Abbreviations

Since its formation as the Australian Country Party in January 1920, the party has declared parliamentary party positions, including that of whip, vacant after each election for the House of Representatives. Up to the 1950s, the whip was also referred to as the secretary of the party. From the mid-1970s the party elected a deputy whip. The contemporary party elects a chief whip and a whip. The above list nominates those parliamentarians who have been elected to the senior whip position.