Skip to the content
Content starts here

Prime Minister’s Office — M94.13North Wing, Main Floor

Three Prime Ministers served in this office between 1973 and 1988: Gough Whitlam from 1972-1975, Malcolm Fraser from 1975-1983, and Bob Hawke from 1983-1988. The office was constructed as part of the extensions to the front west and east sections of the building during 1972-1973, which included a new President of the Senate’s suite in the corresponding position in the west of the building. During construction of the Senate wing the Prime Minister, his staff and the Cabinet Room were temporarily relocated while modifications were carried out to the previous small Prime Ministerial suite and the Cabinet Room in the front eastern section of the building. The temporary office accommodation for the Prime Minister and his staff during the refurbishment was in the extreme southwest corner of the southwest wing, at the rear of the Senate, where there was also a temporary Cabinet Room. The Whitlam Government moved into these offices on its election in December 1972. It was from here that Whitlam and his deputy, Lance Barnard, ran the country during the first two weeks of the new government. This arrangement came to an end in August 1973 when Whitlam, his staff and the Cabinet Room were relocated to the remodelled offices in the eastern front section of the building.

The Prime Minister’s Office is not much larger than many living rooms. Passing traffic and noise from demonstrations could be heard and viewed through its windows - representative of an open approach to leadership. In the end, it was viewed as a security issue, impossible to secure against threats, and one of the reasons why a new Parliament House was constructed. Each Prime Minister to work from this office chose artworks for display, located his desk in a different position, and chose different curtains. In its current configuration the Prime Minister?s Office is presented as it was during Bob Hawke?s term of office, as the last Prime Minister to work in Provisional Parliament House.