Parry to keep eye on Senate

TASMANIAN Liberal Senator Stephen Parry said he would keep a close eye on several ``special senators'' after being elected as President of the Senate yesterday.

Tasmanian Senator Stephen Parry takes over as President of the Senate.

Tasmanian Senator Stephen Parry takes over as President of the Senate.

Senator Parry was elected to the post after winning a ballot 63 votes to 10 against West Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

His tasks in the prestigious post include presiding over the Senate, administering parliamentary departments and hosting dignitaries and official delegations.

Following the first question time in the upper house yesterday, Senator Parry said he would keenly observe new and existing senators over the next six months.

``Put it this way: there are senators and there are special senators,'' he said.

``Some of the special senators I might be having a quiet word with, but I certainly won't be indicating who they are.''

The Launceston-based politician said he would draw on his work experience as a detective and undertaker in his new role.

He said his background as a police officer had given him organisational skills, discipline and control while his time as a funeral director helped foster a sense of compassion.

``The welfare of every senator is now my concern,'' he said.

Senator Parry said there was a wide range of abilities and talents in the new-look upper house.

``I'm actually quite impressed by all the new senators,'' he said.

``But some are going to take a lot longer to come up to speed than others.''

Senator Parry said he would work professionally with peers across all political parties, promising to be an independent and impartial president.

He said while he could no longer be formally involved in partisan politics, he would continue standing up for his home state.

``If I feel Tasmania is missing out or needs something, I can certainly add my weight to my colleagues in the lower house and Senate,'' he said.

``I won't enter into public debate on that any further, but I'll certainly do that behind the scenes.''

Senator Parry said since being elected to Federal Parliament in 2004, his focus had been on going about his business discretely.

``I don't send out a media release every time I do something _ I just do it,'' he said.

``I think it's a far more effective way of doing things.''

Senator Parry said alongside Abraham Lincoln and Margaret Thatcher, several ``quiet achievers'' from Australian politics were among his political idols.

Long-serving Tasmanian Liberal Senator John Watson and Queensland Liberal National Party Senator Ron Boswell were among those to have earned his admiration.

``While [Watson] was never a president or a minister I really respected the way he got about the community,'' he said.

``He was never a high-flyer but gee, he was a very effective senator.''

Senator Parry said while Senator Boswell never aspired to promotion he was an equally effective upper house member.

``You don't need to have international or national notoriety to be a good political person,'' he said.

The 53-year-old said he would serve as president for as long as he felt fit, healthy and able.

``I'll do this for as long as I possibly can,'' Senator Parry said.

``As long as my party wants me as a senator and the senate wants me as a president, I'll keep going.''

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