Parties and party leaders
The standing orders and procedures of the Senate recognise the membership of senators of political parties and their holding office as leaders of political parties.
A senator’s statement in the Senate that the senator is a member, a leader or office-holder of a political party is accepted for the purposes of recognition under the procedures. A senator who changes party membership or who becomes a leader of a party usually makes a statement to that effect to the Senate at the earliest opportunity. Statements concerning office-holders of parties are usually made by party leaders.
The leader in the Senate of the party or coalition of parties which has formed the ministry is recognised as Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the leader of the largest party not participating in the formation of the ministry is recognised as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. These leaders are given a number of powers, such as the power to make nominations to committees, and certain precedence in receiving the call from the chair.