I was first elected by my Senate colleagues to the role of Chief Government Whip in the Senate in January 2019 and finished in July 2022.
During those three years, I had been a trusted and dependable member of the five-member Coalition Senate Leadership Team, first under the leadership of Mathias Cormann and then Simon Birmingham.
Only six Liberal Senators have been Chief Government Whip since 1990, and it has been an honour to join the ranks of former WA Liberal Senators Reg Withers, Fred Chaney and John Panizza.
The work I do with the Coalition Senate Leadership Team ensures the effective, timely passage of the Government’s legislative agenda – in almost two years I have guided the Coalition Government in the Senate through 6178 divisions over almost 720 hours and 74 sitting days, ensuring 223 Government bills were passed.
The role of Chief Government Whip had taken on a new importance during COVID-19, when it was central to continuing the smooth operation of our parliamentary democracy and needed most.
“In his role as Chief Government Whip, Dean is highly regarded for his discretion, work ethic and commitment to building a strong Coalition Senate team.
Dean brings highly valued insight and strategy to the discussions of our Senate Leadership Team, helping us to effectively manage both opportunities and risks in day to day Senate management.
His professionalism during the last two years in the role, working across the Senate with non-Government Senators, has been an integral part of the legislative success enjoyed by the Morrison Government.”
Senator Simon Birmingham, Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Stepping-up on the big issues
In addition to supporting the broader achievements of the Coalition over the last seven years, my record in advancing WA’s interests and our values includes:
- Calling for GST reform in my First Speech to the Senate, and consistently and convincingly arguing WA’s case.
- Backing WA wheat growers and the united view of WA farming communities by challenging attempts to re-regulate Australia’s wheat exports.
- Protecting our Federation by co-ordinating Coalition Senators’ opposition to Labor’s proposal to recognise local government in the Constitution.
- Calling to reform of Section 18C of the Racial Discimination Act 1975 by co-sponsoring a Private Senators Bill with Senators Bernardi, Day and Leyonhjelm.
- Progressing GST reform by calling for an independent, transparent inquiry by the Productivity Commission.
- Progressing reforms to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
- Progressing reform of the wine equalisation tax to better support WA’s premium wine producers and drive regional employment and tourism opportunities.
- Asserting our values regarding the People’s Republic of China by opposing Australia’s ratification of an extradition treaty.
- Progressing reform of Australia’s media by improving the viability of regional broadcasters and reducing gambling advertising during sport broadcasts.
- Progressing resolution of Australia’s marriage debate with the introduction of legislation to extend the definition of marriage and protect key religious freedoms
“I would like to extend thanks to you from the WA wine industry for your support in 2016. The outcomes regarding the wine equalisation tax will have a generational positive impact on south west WA and other fine wine regions around Australia. The significance of this from our industry cannot be overestimated.”
Larry Jordgensen, CEO, Wines of WA, December 2016.
“Thanks to my Coalition colleagues, thanks to the support of the Prime Minister and can I particularly single out… Senator Dean Smith from my party, who have been great stewards of this endeavour with me and my crossbench colleagues.”
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications, Parliament, September 2017.
“The Prime Minister on 3AW this morning said that the government would consider a proposal put forward by West Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith for a parliamentary inquiry by the human rights committee.
This would help break the deadlock in parliament over section 18C and provide people with an opportunity to outline the consequences of limiting freedom of speech.”
Simon Brehemy, Director of Policy at the IPA, October 2016.
A values-based approach to COVID-19 recovery
Having been on track to deliver the Budget back to surplus for the first time in 11 years, the Coalition is now entrusted with responsibility of steering Australia through the COVID-19 recovery and rebuilding its economic future.
While many challenges remain, we are now presented with possibilities that couldn’t have been imagined pre-COVID-19 – put simply, we have a compelling opportunity to reshape Australia’s future – for our generation, and those that follow.
In doing so, we must strongly assert those values we hold true, to protect Australia’s freedoms and liberties, and secure its future prosperity.
The Coalition’s emphasis on job is critical – employment provides opportunity, independence and self-worth, as well as the economic security for Australians to succeed.
To further drive jobs growth, we must reduce the cost of doing business and boost Australia’s competitiveness with policies that:
- Improve access to low cost energy at international competitive prices to stimulate our exports, broaden our manufacturing base, and promote greater self-reliance;
- Reset the relationship between employer and employee to drive productivity and reduce the strength of Labor’s trade union influence;
- Broaden the tax base to better reward personal effort and entrepreneurship, while minimising the tax burden on businesses and families; and
- Reinforce the virtues of Australian federalism, ensuring the voices of communities far from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne are part of our political decision making.