Charlotte, 2017

I wanted to work in the House of Representatives Committee Office because I was interested in gaining an insight into how political negotiations and debate shape policymaking  something you are usually quite far removed from in a large department. I also love Australian politics, so the prospect of working at Parliament House was very exciting.


My placement was in the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) secretariat. A typical workday could include drafting a report, attending training on the work of the Committees or Parliament more broadly, reviewing submissions or assisting to organise a public hearing or committee meeting.


Given my interest in politics, I particularly enjoyed working on JSCEM. It was great to concentrate on a single area for an extended period of time, and I feel I have learnt a great deal about issues associated with elections. A highlight was sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives to watch the committee report into foreign donations, which I had helped draft, being tabled.


I found the program both valuable and rewarding because it enhanced my understanding of how different political parties and independents interact, and how Parliament interacts with individuals and interest groups in the broader community. This understanding is transferable to other areas of policymaking. I also found it valuable to observe the culture of a different department  an unexpected lesson from my time at Parliament.

Dylan, 2017 Graduate

I was very interested in participating in the Parliamentary Graduate Program, to see a different side of government and obtain experience in the Parliamentary Service. I was very lucky in being placed with a Committee Secretariat which had three active inquiries ranging from issues as diverse as modernising Australia’s electricity grid and the strategic importance of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories. Through these inquiries I had the chance to undertake research, and draft questions and chapters of a committee report.


There were so many valuable aspects to the program, most important though, was the chance to learn and view the parliamentary model of inquiry first-hand. Through this I was able to use and develop my public service skills in the parliamentary setting. I absolutely recommend the Parliamentary Graduate Program to any graduate starting in the public service to enhance their skills by developing them by working on a Parliamentary inquiry.

Jacqui, 2017 Graduate

I applied for the Parliament of Australia Graduate Program to gain a deeper understanding of the Parliament and its functions and processes. Spending three months in the Content and Outreach team with the Department of the House of Representatives, I worked to raise awareness and increase understanding of the Parliament’s work, which included supporting House and Joint Committees to promote different enquiries. I also interviewed Members of Parliament to create videos for our About the House TV YouTube channel, managed social media platforms, and produced content for the newsletter.


I had the opportunity to complete a range of challenging and engaging work and gained important skills I’ll be able to use to develop my career. It was great to work in this magnificent building and see it come alive during sitting periods, particularly during Budget night when it transformed into a mini city. One of the most valuable aspects of the program was seeing the behind-the-scenes action of Parliament House and gaining an insight into the Parliamentary environment. Having access to Members, engaging with the press gallery and being able to drop into Question Time was also really beneficial, and are unique opportunities you wouldn’t normally have elsewhere. 

Laura, 2016 Graduate

My three-month placement was with the House of Representatives committee office, in a small secretariat supporting two parliamentary committees. I joined the team just as a new Parliament sat for the first time, so it was fast–paced and I learned a lot about parliamentary procedure.


My team were incredibly supportive and helped me grasp this placement as an opportunity to develop as a public servant. I was able to engage in the work of the Parliament, from committee meetings through to chamber proceedings, and take part in training across the parliamentary departments. My team also gave me the freedom to develop and trial some new approaches to regular committee business, which was a rewarding experience.


My major task was to prepare a significant report for one of the committees, largely independently, which was tabled in the Parliament and published online. During my placement, I was also involved in briefing the Committee for meetings and hearings, providing advice about topical issues, developing media strategies and drafting releases, as well as engaging with witnesses and submitters providing evidence to the committee.


I was keen to take part in the Parliament of Australia graduate program to get a better top-down understanding of the way the Parliament interacts with the public service. I really valued the exposure the placement gave me to the moving parts of Australian democracy in action. I am going to bring an entirely new perspective when I return to work at my home department.


The biggest surprise for me was how much the physical environment shapes and influences the culture of Parliament House. The building is an incredible piece of art, architecture and democratic symbolism. It sets a tone of respect that ripples through every day and every activity.


I found the most valuable part of the graduate program was the platform it gave me to connect with so many unbelievably talented, highly skilled, professional (and just generally wonderful!) people. I met mentors and role models, and I made friends I will keep for years to come.


I would highly recommend this program in a heartbeat. It’s an amazing opportunity and such a privilege.

Michael, 2015 Graduate

I spent three months working in the Community Outreach Unit of the Department of the House of Representatives. I applied for the parliamentary graduate program because I wanted to learn more about the specific workings of Parliament and the processes and procedures that enable our Government to run.


During my placement I was involved in a wide range of tasks aimed at increasing knowledge of the House of Representatives within the community and encouraging community participation in the work of the House and its committees. My work varied from interviewing Members of parliament to managing social media, and researching, writing and producing content for television and print. 


Being in direct contact with the day-to-day happenings of our Parliament is an experience you won’t have anywhere else. You’ll get insights into the processes and procedures of Parliament and develop an in-depth understanding of how things work in the House  which is invaluable as a public servant. What I’ve enjoyed most about the program is having so many opportunities to experience and learn about Parliament House  whether that’s attending question time, seminars and special parliamentary events or talking to Members, Senators and parliamentary staff who have such a wealth of knowledge.


There is so much to learn  I highly recommend this program to all graduates.

Need more information?

For further information please contact:

Emma Matthews

Assistant Director, People Strategies

Department of the House of Representatives

Telephone:  (02) 6277 2372

Email: hrm.reps@aph.gov.au


Natalie Rose

Assistant Director, Human Resource Management

Department of the Senate

Telephone: (02) 6277 3475

Email: hrm.sen@aph.gov.au


Karen Nothard

Corporate Support Officer, Corporate Strategy

Parliamentary Budget Office

Telephone: (02) 6277 9515

Email: hr@pbo.gov.au


Download the 2020 Graduate Program brochure (PDF 2MB).

Graduate Program 2020 Cover

Got a question about our Graduate Program? Check our FAQs and read the testimonials of some of our past Graduates.