The Federation Press

The House on Capital Hill


Parliament House in Canberra is the home of the Australian Parliament where laws are debated and enacted. It is also the principal home of the Australian Government, especially the Cabinet and the Ministry. And it is the home of the Canberra Press Gallery which produces so much of what we read, hear and see on major national issues. Few, if any, other democracies concentrate so much national power in one building.

In The House on Capital Hill, leading politicians, public servants, ministerial advisers and journalists provide their own perspectives on what really happens in Parliament House. Each contributor speaks from close personal experience over many years, often in both the new House on Capital Hill and its predecessor beside Lake Burley Griffin.

Contributors include: John Kerin; Fred Chaney; Ian Sinclair; Michelle Grattan and Vince FitzGerald. There is also Gough Whitlam’s press secretary, Bob Hawke’s speechwriter; Paul Keating’s Mabo coordinator and John Howard’s then top Cabinet adviser.

Table of Contents

Setting the Scene
Jenny Hutchison

Parliament House, Capital Hill, Canberra
The Politicians
Ten Years a Minister
John Kerin

Changes in the Ministry
Ian Sinclair

Life as a Shadow Minister: "Between the Idea and the Reality"
Fred Chaney

Parliament and Government: Striking the Balance
David Hamer

Parliamentarians, Econocrats and the People
John Langmore

The Opposition Member: Opportunities and Obstacles
David Connolly

The Staff
Advice on Public Policy: The Changing Balance between the Public Service and Political Advisers
Vince FitzGerald

Departments and Ministerial Offices: An Essential Partnership
Sandy Hollway

Ministers and Minders
Patti Warn

The Making of a Prime Minister’s Speeches
Stephen Mills

The Roles of Opposition Staff
Michael L’Estrange

The Media
The Press Gallery at Work
Mike Steketee

Sharing the Same Kennel: The Press in Parliament House
Michelle Grattan

Of interest...