Canberra's Parliamentary Services boss, Carol Mills, is determined not to surrender in the face of a "campaign" to deny her the prestigious job as clerk of Britain's House of Commons, departmental insiders say.
While Commons' Speaker John Bercow prepared to address Parliament in Westminster on Monday night about the row over his choice of new clerk, Ms Mills maintained an official silence.
But public service sources say Ms Mills is resolved to stare down a campaign they believe has been orchestrated by retiring Commons clerk Sir Robert Rogers in an effort to install his deputy, David Natzler, into the job.
Ms Mills's supporters in Canberra say the campaign, which has been given impetus by Britain's right-wing press and conservative MPs who are aghast at the idea of a non-British woman taking the job, has taken on a sexist element after she was dubbed "the Canberra caterer".
Critics say Ms Mills lacks the experience and knowledge of Westminster procedures and believe she is too inexperienced for the prestigious $365,060-a-year position, which combines the clerk's duties as a key constitutional adviser with the role of Commons chief executive.
It is understood Mr Bercow was planning to tell the Commons on Monday evening that he wants to split the clerk's job, separating the procedural parliamentary role from the task of running a department with 750 staff and a budget of $367 million.
Parliament House in Canberra is still buzzing from the extraordinary intervention by clerk of the Senate Rosemary Laing, who wrote to Mr Roberts last month denigrating Ms Mills and her ability to do the Westminster job.
Dr Laing also expressed surprise that the Parliamentary Services boss had not resigned this year amid claims the building's security had been used to spy on veteran Labor senator John Faulkner.
With Dr Laing potentially facing code-of-conduct action over her comments, none of the Australian players in the saga are willing to comment publicly.
One senior government source has told The Canberra Times that members of a "club" of parliamentary clerks from around the English-speaking world are furious that one of the top jobs in democratic institutions might go to someone who is not a member.
Both Sir Robert and Dr Laing are members of the Society of Clerks at the Table, along with the clerks of all the parliaments in the British Commonwealth.
But another society member said most clerks broadly agreed with Dr Laing's views on appointing Ms Mills to "the mother of parliaments".
The DPS secretary was headhunted for the job before emerging as frontrunner but pressure was mounting on Mr Bercow as he prepared for his statement on Monday.
One London paper reported on Sunday that rebel MPs were preparing a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who must ultimately recommend the appointment to the Queen, has said that any choice for clerk must have the support of members of Parliament.