Canberra Press Gallery


Canberra Press Gallery

The Canberra Press Gallery, officially called the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, is the name given to the approximately 180 journalists and their support staff, including producers, editors and camera crews, who report the workings of the Australian Parliament. The name derives from the press galleries, which are enclosed viewing areas above the chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, which the Speaker and the President have allocated to the media.

Use of the name

The expression "Canberra Press Gallery" also refers to the association of Gallery journalists which represents their professional interests in dealing with the Parliament. The current President of the Gallery is Karen Middleton, national politics correspondent for SBS.

Apart from the one hour per sitting day of Question Time, journalists spend little time in the actual press gallery overlooking the floor of Parliament. Another area, also named the "press gallery" refers to the office space within the Parliament building, above the Senate chamber which includes television studios and radio booths where the gallery journalists spend most of their time compiling stories and communicating with editors. [Clem Lloyd, "Parliament and the Press: A History of the Canberra Press Gallery" (1988)] [Ian Ward, "The media, power and politics," in Andrew Parkin et el, "Government, Politics, Power and Policy in Australia", Pearson Education Australia (2006)]

Role and influence

Conventional wisdom among both journalists and politicians attributes great power and influence to Gallery journalists, who are somewhat disparagingly referred to as "the pack" (as in wolf pack) by politicians. Ian Ward says: "Gallery journalists are collectively responsible for the great majority of news stories about federal politics that appear in Australian Print and broadcast media." [Ian Ward, "The media, power and politics," in Andrew Parkin et el, "Government, Politics, Power and Policy in Australia", Pearson Education Australia (2006)] Many of the best known names in Australian political journalism, such as Malcolm Farr, Michelle Grattan, Laurie Oakes, Alan Ramsey, Glenn Milne, Paul Bongiorno and Dennis Shanahan are Gallery members.

References

External links

* [http://john.curtin.edu.au/events/speeches/grattanlecture.html The Prime Minister and the Press: A Study in Intimacy] (Michelle Grattan reflects on the history of the Press Gallery)


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