Winner of the 2015 Henry Mayer Book Prize for Australian PoliticsStephen Mills has conducted on-the-record interviews with every living national campaign director of the two major political parties. Their experience covers the 15 federal election campaigns from 1974 to the present day.Built around twelve critical moments in Australian electoral history, The Professionals traces the transformation of the party official from administrative servant to highly influential, professional campaign manager, and the election campaign from the pre-television days to the contemporary world of social media, focus groups and million-dollar budgets. He shows how Australia’s political parties went from mass-membership organisations – which provided opportunities for grassroots participation – to top-down managerial enterprises. Internal control of the parties has shifted to a new centre of power: the Head Office. The Professionals provides a fascinating new perspective on the contours of Australian political history and shows political parties as they have rarely been seen before – from the inside. ‘The inside story of our political parties: how the dark arts shape electoral outcomes.’ —Lindsay Tanner‘A very revealing insight into the backrooms of Australian politics.’ —Michelle Grattan‘Mills touches on leaks, celebrity candidates and the pressure to donate; all part of the campaigners world and …a good read. He goes into the minds of significant figures in politics and delivers’ —Ian Smith‘A remarkably well researched history of the back room of Australian politics…Mills has made an important contribution.’ —Dennis Atkins‘This book combines narrative verve with the accumulation of an impressive body of primary evidence.’ —AustralianStephen Mills is the author of the pioneering study The New Machine Men (1986). He also wrote The Hawke Years (1993), dealing with the prime ministership of Bob Hawke, for whom he worked as speechwriter from 1986 to 1991. He is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney, and was a Harkness Fellow (1983–85) and graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a former journalist and editor with Fairfax.