(Image: Private Media)

This story is part 10 in a series. For the full series go here.

In 2019 Scott Morrison tried hard -- and failed -- to have his friend and mentor Pastor Brian Houston invited to an official White House dinner with Donald Trump. But within weeks, Houston went one better. He made it into the Oval Office where, a photograph records, he stood literally at the right hand of the president of the United States.

How he arrived there tells us a great deal about Brian Houston's network of religious-political players and the pastor's own soft power in Washington. It is the same kind of network that brought five leading US Senators to Houston's Hillsong Church in Sydney's outer suburbs in the months before the White House meeting with the president.