NSW Legislative Council Whip Peter Phelps can now keep members of parliament in line with a little piece of Tenterfield.
Dr Phelps was presented with a whip from the Tenterfield Saddler last week and says he has already been putting it to good use.
“All I could do was whack it in the foyer,” Dr Phelps said. “I can’t imagine getting flogged with it, it’s meant for prime Australian beef.”
He said it was an Australian tradition to present the Whip with a whip, with the title stemming back to when British hunts were led by the master of the hounds who kept the dogs in line with a whip.
These days, the Whip is responsible for keeping parliamentary members in line and ensuring they are present to vote in the chambers.
“I don’t have any cattle, but I have 21 members of parliament, and they are more obstreperous than most brahmans,” Dr Phelps said.
At the moment, the whip is in Dr Phelps’ office but he intends to have it mounted on a plaque to be displayed in his ante-room where members of parliament were required to list their names on a board if they intended to speak on a bill.
“Even if they don’t come and see me, they will see the whip and it will hopefully inspire them with a little bit of fear to do the right thing.”
Dr Phelps said he had not been through Tenterfield since about 2002, but the presentation of the whip might inspire him to visit again.
The whip was bought by Member of the Legislative Council Scot MacDonald on a visit to Tenterfield a few months ago, and presented to Dr Phelps last week.
"This continues a long tradition of empowering the Whip with the tools to keep party members in line,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Tenterfield now has a memorable connection with the NSW Parliament and I hope this will be good exposure for the Tenterfield Saddler."
The Tenterfield Saddler’s Lenore Morris said she was “pretty impressed” with the presentation.
“It’s nice to be able to assist the government in whatever way you can,” she joked.
“It is one of those little quirky things you don’t expect to happen.”
Also at the presentation was Member of the Legislative Council Sarah Mitchell.
“It’s a long-standing tradition that the Whip has a whip in their office, and Peter was absolutely delighted to receive an authentic cattle whip from Tenterfield,” Mrs Mitchell said.
“He was so delighted that he took it straight to the foyer to practise!
“As the duty MLC for the Northern Tablelands I am very proud that a high quality, iconic whip from the Tenterfield Saddler now has a permanent home in Parliament House.”