A day in the life of a graduate

Anton Sasson, PM&C Graduate

Anton Sasson - 2017 PM&C Graduate Program

International Economy Unit

The Australian National University
Bachelor of International Relations & Bachelor of Commerce
Graduated 2017

Time Activity
7.30am Wake up, scrambled eggs on toast are the brekkie of the month for me.
8.30am Leave home and jump on my push bike for some exercise on the way to work. Canberra is a great city to ride in!
8.50am Arrive, have a shower in the well-equipped change rooms and get dressed.
9.05am Choose my desk for the day and check through the night’s emails and cables from colleagues overseas.
10.00am Team meeting discussing the day’s work priorities and delegating work around the team.
10.30am Economic Division fortnightly morning tea, a great time to talk with colleagues working on tax, regulation and competition matters about public policy developments in their areas.
11.00am Listen to the head of International Division provide a readout from the Prime Minister’s trip to the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires – my team and I coordinated these briefings for the PM.
11.30am Continue my work on trade policy, it’s a dynamic space as we are refining policy in the midst of global contention about the global trading system and trade’s benefits.
1.00pm Catch up with the other grads in the café for lunch, before chatting to some colleagues from my last rotation in National Security Division.
1.30pm Discuss the work I am doing with my supervisor to make sure I am going in the correct direction.
1.40pm Jump into a private work nook to power through my work ahead of deadlines that afternoon. I have received feedback from a few other policy areas in the Department which need to be incorporated.
3.30pm Meeting of the Department’s Social Club preparing for some events later this month, we want PM&C to be a great place to work, but also have fun. This meeting is to plan a happy hour.
4.00pm Proofread my work and send it through my supervisor for clearance before being allocated a time-critical draft cabinet submission for comment.
5.30pm Send my initial comments to the rest of the team to get their thoughts before jumping on my bike get to the local sailing club for a race.
6.00pm There isn’t much wind, so instead of sailing, I go out for a stand-up paddle board and swim on Lake Burley Griffin.
8.00pm I catch up with some friends from university in the city for some Sichuan food.
9.30pm Head home and relax.


Clancy O'Donnell, PM&C Graduate

Clancy O’Donnell - 2017 PM&C Graduate Program

Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government

University of Adelaide
Bachelor Law and International Studies
Graduated 2015

Time Activity
8.00am I ride my bike through the city, across Lake Burley Griffin, past Old Parliament House to PM&C. After locking my bike up in the underground carpark, I iron my shirt, get changed and head up to the office.
8.30am I scan the daily media for any coverage relevant to my area and send articles to my team on key policy developments in our policy area.
9am I head downstairs to grab a coffee with a few colleagues. We chat about new policies and the latest news from around the country.

I finish adding changes to a brief to the Prime Minister that I’ve been working on, print it out and discuss with two team members. We submit the brief to our Assistant Secretary and chase up some remaining data from another department to add to the brief attachments.

10.30am I head off to an Interdepartmental Committee Meeting in Civic (Canberra’s CBD). Today’s meeting is about the engagement strategy for an Australian delegation visiting overseas.

I head back to PM&C and write up a meeting summary for my area. We know that the relevant Minister will need further authority from the Prime Minister to make the policy changes necessary to execute the strategy, so I draft an email to that department and make a start on a letter from the Prime Minister.

12.30pm I head over to the rose garden across from Old Parliament House and have a sandwich and an iced coffee with a few other PM&C graduates.
1pm I race back to the office to see Dr Ken Henry speak about responses to the global financial crisis.


I prepare an outline for a brief for one of the Prime Minister’s upcoming interstate visits. We need input from a few other departments about the policy detail for announcements and meetings. I make some phone calls with other areas in PM&C to get the best departmental contacts and the most up-to-date information.
3.05pm We receive an urgent request from the Prime Minister’s Office to prepare a new Question Time Brief on a set of projects the Prime Minister will be announcing. We make calls to other departments and collect information to insert into the brief. We upload the brief and take further instructions from Prime Minister’s Office to add more detail to the brief.
5.00pm This morning’s Brief has come back for comment from our Assistant Secretary with final changes before it goes up to the Prime Minister’s Office. I make the changes and send up to the Deputy Secretary’s office for clearance.
5.35pm I pack up my desk and get on my bike to head home for my 6.00pm gym class.
Kate Mitchell, PM&C Graduate

Kate Mitchell - 2017 PM&C Graduate Program

Nhulunbuy Regional Office

La Trobe University, Monash University
Bachelor of International Development, Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability
Graduated 2014, 2016

Time Activity
6.00am Wake up and go for a walk (there’s a lookout not too far from my house that has an unreal view of the sunrise). It gets a bit hot to be active outside later in the day, so I like to get up and get moving early!
7.30am Pack my bag – I’m heading out to visit a remote Indigenous community today, and I’ll need an overnight bag.
8.00am Leave home and head into the office – I’ve been lent a 4WD to get around town while I’m here and the car is honestly bigger than my apartment in Canberra.
8.06am Arrive at PM&C’s Nhulunbuy office (it’s amazing how quickly you can get used to a six minute commute!) I’ve got time to make myself a cup of tea and check my emails before we need to head off to the airport.
8.30am My colleague and I drive out to the airport to jump in a plane. We’re flying out to community – in the Dry season you can drive, but it’s currently the Wet season and large stretches of the (unsealed) road are washed out or underwater, so flying is the only way.
10.00am Arrive in community. The Government Engagement Coordinator (GEC) and Indigenous Engagement Officer (IEO) – community-based PM&C employees – have driven out to the airstrip to pick us up. We’ve got a busy day ahead of us, meeting with service providers and community leaders, so we head straight to our first appointment.
10.30am Meeting at the Community Development Program (CDP) workshop. The Department funds this program, so it’s important for us to check in and see how everything is running. The CDP coordinator gives us a quick tour then we retreat to the office to discuss operational matters and contract variations.
12.00pm Lunch time! We swing by the community store to grab some bread to make sandwiches, and head back to the GEC’s office complex. After a quick lunch, we walk over to the local art centre to have a look around and say hello to some of the artists.
1.00pm Meeting with some local Elders in the GEC complex. Meetings like these are quite informal, but vital to the work PM&C does in community. Over tea and biscuits, the Elders express some of their concerns and discuss ideas with us on how we can improve our services. The IEO is crucial in these discussions, helping to translate parts of the conversation from Yolngu Matha. We don’t talk much during these meetings – it is important for us to build relationships with the Elders by listening and showing respect.
3.00pm Next, we head over to the local school. School attendance has been low this term due to the wet weather, but the Commonwealth-funded Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) team has been thinking of new ways to help kids get to school. The school principal is keen to check in with us and run some ideas past us.
4.00pm We head back to the GEC complex to consolidate our meeting notes and check in with our supervisor back in Nhulunbuy. Our supervisor has sent through some discussion points for us to take to a meeting with the local Indigenous Rangers tomorrow morning, and we go through them together over Skype.
5.00pm Work is done for the day. We get settled into our accommodation and then head to the GEC’s house for dinner. We’ve brought her some ingredients she can’t get hold of in community, and she’s cooking up a feast for us in return!
Eleanor Garrard, PM&C Graduate

Eleanor Garrard - 2017 PM&C Graduate Program

Communications and Speeches

University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Psychology (Hons)
Graduated 2016

Time Activity
6.30am Wake up, breakfast, get ready for work.
8.00am Leave home, walk to the bus.
8.40am Arrive at work, login and check emails.
9.00am Coordinate the fact-checking process for one of the Prime Minister’s speeches—email all relevant policy areas, requesting that they review and provide advice on the accuracy of the content by 1pm.
9.30am Walk up to Parliament House for Assistant Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO) duty in the Federation Chamber.
9.45am Collect the keys to the Federation Chamber from the Parliamentary Liaison Office and proceed to the Federation Chamber.
10.00am Settle in for three hours of PLO duty. This involves monitoring government business in the Federation Chamber and ensuring Ministers are present when required to sum up a bill at the end of the second reading stage. I have to call various Ministerial offices to let them know that the Minister is needed in the Chamber urgently.
1pm Depart Parliament House and return to the Department.
1.15pm Follow up on the fact-checking task. Policy areas that have not yet responded are chased via a phone call. Collate all of the feedback/edits from policy areas in a master document and send the final copy to the Prime Minister’s Office.
1.40pm Take a break and go for a run around Lake Burley Griffin (approx. 6km).
2.20pm Continue working on a speech for International Women’s Day—this is a bit of a ‘stop-start’ process, with 15 minutes spent researching, 15 minutes writing, then back to researching again.
3.10pm Return to the office and continue working on my speechwriting process.
4.30pm Pop upstairs for a meeting of the Women’s Network executive. I’m the Convenor of Communications for the Women’s Network, so I need to provide an update on our communications targets for the next quarter, and also take on board any relevant feedback from our recent members survey.
5.15pm Return to the communications branch and complete some administrative tasks—respond to emails, update my timesheet, and send the draft International Women’s Day speech to my colleagues for their consideration.
5.30pm Get a lift home with one of my colleagues.
6pm Cook dinner and enjoy a bit of downtime.
7pm Head to volleyball training.
9.30pm Arrive home, shower and bed.

To apply

If you would like to apply for the 2019 Graduate Program, visit the PM&C recruitment portal.

More information

For more information on the PM&C Graduate Program you can email us at EntryLevelPrograms@pmc.gov.au or call us on 02 6271 6000.