Ken Randall, the president of the National Press Club, must have travelled down memory lane this week when up there on the dais with him was News Limited Chief Executive John Hartigan suggesting that it might be good sense if his company's Canberra journalists did not work from Parliament House. For Ken the idea would hardly have ben a new one. Some 35 years ago when he was tapping his typewriter for The Australian he regularly worked from the building over the Lake in Civic from which the Murdoch empire once printed the paper for national distribution.
I used the same offices myself back in 1971 or 1972 when the political correspondent for The Sunday Australian and then the Sydney Daily and Sunday Telegraphs. Being out of the parliamentary hot house certainly gave me a different perspective on the events of the day with judgments about what really was newsworthy regularly quite different from my peers crammed in alongside each other. I do admit though, that spending as little time as possible in the old Parliament House office I officially shared with Alan Ramsey was also an incentive to work alone somewhere else. If you thought Ramsey was a cantankeroous old B in his writings before his recent retirement let me assure you he was no different in person as a younger man although I subsequently discovered he can be quite a pleasant fishing companion.
And yes, now I'm writing for the Owl and Crikey I still resist the temptation to prowl the corridors of power but work from home. As a journalist I think you certainly get a different view of politics when you read your colleagues but don't spend time talking to them.
It was nice to hear John Hartigan agreeing. Yet again the Owl leads and News Limited is following.