Delimiter has been approved to join the Press Gallery in Canberra


hi everyone,

hope your week is going well!

I just wanted to drop readers a brief note to let you know that yesterday I was approved to join the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra.

This may seem like a small step. After all, I’m already based in Canberra, proceedings of the Federal Parliament are broadcast online, and the Parliament’s many committees are open to the public. Delimiter has been covering technology policy, government technology projects and the politics of technology for some time. So, what has really changed?

In short, quite a lot.

Being a member of the Press Gallery means that I will have a pass to go into the private areas of Parliament House.

It means I will be able to attend many more press conferences with Australia’s Federal MPs and Senators than I would have previously been able to. It is common, when the Federal Parliament is sitting, and on other key days, for politicians to hold press conferences inside Parliament House, either in briefing rooms or in the many courtyards which are found in the building.

It means that I will be able to visit Australia’s politicians and their staff in their offices. Sitting days in Canberra are quite long, with MPs, Senators and their staff often working from early in the morning until late at night. Being a member of the Press Gallery means I will be able to drop in (with their permission) to visit the politicians and their staff to touch base and keep up to date with the latest developments on any given issue.

And, of course, it means that I will be able to sit in the physical Press Gallery in the Senate and in the House of Representatives and directly observe the proceedings of Parliament live as critical legislation is debated and other Parliamentary actions take place.

Up until this week, I’ve been limited in how closely I can cover technology policy and politics in Canberra. When researching stories for Delimiter and material for my book, The Frustrated State, I have had to deal with the Parliament from an outsiders’ perspective. Now, I will be much more on the inside.

There will also be more subtle effects stemming from my membership of the Press Gallery.

As you know, technology-related issues are increasingly becoming important to the Federal Parliament, as well as the various political parties which make it up.

We’ve all watched over the past few years as issues such as the National Broadband Network, data retention, Internet filtering and censorship, IT and video game industry support, fair taxation of technology multinationals, crypto-curriencies and even electronic health records have been heavily debated and featured in legislation and inquiries in the Federal Parliament.

The existing journalists who are already members of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery (you can see the list here) represent some of the best journalists in Australia. They are exemplary at covering all issues relating to politics and I have the utmost respect for them.

But it’s also true that the lack of many dedicated technology reporters in Canberra has meant that niche specialist topics such as I’ve mentioned above sometimes might not get the emphasis that IT professionals and technology enthusiasts think they deserve. There are just so many issues at play simultaneously, and getting a deep understanding of every topic is very difficult.

My hope is that my membership of the Press Gallery, with my niche focus on technology policy and politics, will provide an added dimension to the coverage generated in Canberra, sometimes covering issues which might not get detailed coverage otherwise.

I also hope that it will help to accelerate the understanding which MPs, Senators and their staff have regarding technology issues in the Parliament and the community — sometimes, just being asked questions about a given issue by a journalist is enough to spark interest in political circles.

And, of course, ultimately I hope to uphold the traditions of the Press Gallery itself — informing the public and providing a check and balance on power in one of the centres of power in Australia, reporting accurately and analysing wisely without fear or favour.

One question I have been asked a lot about the Gallery is how it works, and whether I will have a physical office in Parliament House.

The answer to the first question is that the operations of journalists in Parliament House are broadly overseen by the Press Gallery Committee. It is these Committee Members who have approved my application. The rules for media activity in Parliament House, as agreed with the Parliament, can be found here, and the process of being accredited is also online here.

You may like to also check out the history of the Press Gallery. It dates back to 1901, when the first Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery was established in Melbourne, where Federal Parliament sat in the Victorian Parliament House. It has since moved several times — to the first Parliament House in Canberra, and then to the current location.

Most of the Press Gallery is physically based in Parliament House, where there are specific offices set up for journalists (large offices for large publishing houses such as Fairfax, the ABC and News Corp, and smaller ones for smaller publishers).

Initially I will not have an office in Parliament House, as I am still very much involved in getting Delimiter off the ground after its year on ice and conducting research for The Frustrated State — I will head up to Capital Hill in Canberra when there is Parliamentary action pertinent to my writing. There is a lot to do until I am ready to seek physical space in Parliament House. However, eventually down the track I hope to do so — and that will also be up to the Press Gallery Committee.

At this point I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me to get to this point. Firstly, to my family — there have been many long working nights recently, and they have put up with a lot. Secondly, I really appreciate the effort that a number of existing Press Gallery members made to support my application, and the time that the Press Gallery Committee has taken to examine it.

Of course, if it wasn’t for those who supported my forthcoming book, The Frustrated State (I hope to complete several chapters very shortly — I am frantically working on it!), none of this would be possible. I’d also like to thank Delimiter’s valued advertising clients, as well as technical and commercial partners who help make the publication of the site possible.

And lastly, of course, I’d like to thank Delimiter’s readership as a whole. I am very humbled by the community we’ve built here, and I will be working very hard to build it a lot larger over the next decade. I will do my best to live up to your expectations.

Thank you, and now on with the articles!

Renai LeMay
Editor + Publisher, Delimiter


  1. Congrats Renai but I expect to see interview questions start with “Yes Minister but the public already understands that what you’re saying is partisan bullocks, would you care to clarify your position?”

  2. Renai, It might be interesting for you to share your thoughts in a month or 2 about how being on the inside changes your perspective and understanding of what is going. I would be interested not so much in the politicking but the process of getting new policy up and into the statutes.

    • +1 Grats

      (And just think of all those boozy lunches at the Press Club speechy things. lol)

  3. Excellent news Renai, just please dont fall into the “insiders” trap like the regular gallery members seem to do too frequently eg totally missing the importance of the Misogyny speech etc etc.

    • I actually think this is a really important point.

      Parliament House is a bubble, and the more time you spend in it, the more acclimatised you become to it.

      I will be relying heavily on readers to continually keep me grounded in the real world. If you think what I am writing is bullshit and that I am being influenced, you had better damn well tell me about it.

      I recommend you do so by highlighting the specific parts of Delimiter’s Statement of Principles which you think I am ignoring:

      Delimiter is not an individual — it is a community. I am merely your representative on the inside. Keep an eye on me and make sure I am doing the right thing.

      • The bubble nature of those (i call them captured) by their insider status is something well worth making sure you are firewalled against – if theres anything that devalues those who otherwise would be providing important service to the public, capture is pretty much it, IMO.

        That said, Renai, i have little fear of you joining those ranks. Congratulations; and once you have cleared the decks somewhat and attain said office, a proof by way of pic would be nice to see :P

        influence i think is inevitable, if at times only to a small degree – as short as it was; your time in the Greens office surely will count as influence. more important is recognising that has happened, or the potential for colouring subsequent views. i think there will still be times where we disagree with conclusions, but personally i wont regard you any the less for speaking things as you see it.


      • The lady on QandA the other night was saying leadership is a group dynamic so good rationale seems to be your forte.

        (Sorry about the smoke, lol!)

      • Keep an eye on me and make sure I am doing the right thing.

        I usually have trouble expressing my opinion, but I’ll give it a try :)

  4. Indeed congrats, although this probably means more work doesn’t it ;-)

    More independent commentators is always welcome

    Still annoyed I missed the Frustrated State kickstarter

  5. Well earned: who could not say you have worked hard for such an acknowledgment of professional integrity?

    Copper can’t win at the end of the day and everyone can see the writing on the wall for Rabbit-net !!

  6. Does this mean you will be asking questions of Captain-Internet and I’m-no-Bill-Gates in front of a camera?

  7. Congratulations Renai
    You will achieve much, our Pollies and their teams cannot be expected to be expert in everything and methinks a perspective such as you will bring can only benefit us all

  8. Is popcorn allowed in the press gallery Renai ? and Renai remember, no rolling Jaffas down the gallery aisles.

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