"The Attorney-General’s Department serves the people of Australia by upholding the rule of law and providing support to the Australian Government to maintain and improve our systems for law and justice, national security, emergency management, and natural disaster relief."

That’s from the website of the Attorney-General’s Department, the 1400-strong, $900 million per annum agency on the corner of Kings Avenue and National Circuit near Parliament House, just past Prime Minister and Cabinet. Its main building, the elegant, sandstone Robert Garran Offices, is a treasured example of "Interwar Stripped Classical" architecture (correction - see below).

Offsetting it, just across the road, is the wretched Edmund Barton Building, where one of the department’s key portfolio agencies, the Australian Federal Police, now resides. The AFP, with its 5000+ national staff, moved in a few years ago. The building -- "Late Twentieth-Century International Style", apparently -- was designed, or more correctly inflicted, by Harry Seidler in the late 1960s, and despite a huge refurbishment before the coppers moved in, still looks every bit the lame 60s-idea-of-what-the-year-2000-would-look-like it always has been, as if you've wandered onto the set of a Gerry Anderson TV show.