The Abbott government has appointed a former Howard Government minister and the daughter of Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies to the advisory council of Old Parliament House.

ABC journalist and former Labor staffer Barrie Cassidy resigned as chairman of the council in October after Arts Minister George Brandis raised concerns about his appointment.

Mr Cassidy was appointed to the voluntary role on August 5, the day after the election was called, but before the writs were issued and the government had moved into caretaker mode.

Mr Cassidy said Senator Brandis had asked that he consider stepping aside because of concerns about the process of his appointment and whether it was inappropriate for current participants in the political process – whether as journalists or politicians – to sit on the council.

Former Minister David Kemp and Heather Henderson, the daughter of Australia's longest-serving prime minister, Robert Menzies, were among three new appointments to the council announced by Senator Brandis late on Thursday.

The other was Sir David Smith, who as official secretary to the then Governor-General Sir John Kerr, read the proclamation dismissing Gough Whitlam as prime minister on the steps of Old Parliament House on November 11, 1975.

"Each of the three candidates are distinguished Australians intimately connected with federal political affairs," Senator Brandis said.

Each has been appointed for three years.

Dr Kemp served on the staff of prime minister Malcolm Fraser before going on to serve as a minister in the Howard government in portfolios such as education, employment and training and environment and heritage.

Mr Smith served five Governors-General over a period of 17 years, and held various senior positions in the public service, including Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mrs Henderson has published two books about the period of her father's prime ministership.