Peter van Onselen

I am a politics and public policy professor who also comments on politics and elections in the media. I try to make the dark arts of politics accessible and understood by the mainstream, cutting through the spin coming from the political professionals.

Professor of Politics and Public Policy Peter van Onselen

I grew up in Sydney where I studied as an undergraduate before moving to Western Australia to complete my PhD. During my working life I have moved between Sydney and Perth for my various work commitments. These days that includes Canberra during sitting weeks. I started life as a full-time academic before also moving into commentary roles.

I have just completed two books, one on Scott Morrison’s prime ministership and his handling of events from the bushfires to the pandemic. The other book examines policy ideas the major parties are too timid to touch, even though they have merit and in some cases are being implemented overseas.

As we come out the other side of the global pandemic and the recession it is vital that our political leaders are prepared to consider bold policy initiatives to ensure we maintain standards of living and economic growth. Both books examine that need from different perspectives.

I enjoy the chance to pivot between political commentary, public policy advocacy and teaching those subjects I am passionate about. I realise that it is a privilege to work in the environments I do with the platforms I have. For that reason I take the responsibilities of being heard seriously, but do not for a moment think that people are easily swayed from their core values and beliefs. The chance to challenge or reinforce those values and beliefs gives me energy.


  • PhD in Political Science, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (awarded in 2007)
  • Master of Commerce (with Distinction, Dean’s honours list), Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia (awarded in 2015)
  • Master in Policy Studies (with Distinction), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (awarded in 2004)
  • B.A, 1st Class Honours in Political Science, major in Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (awarded in 1998)

External positions:

  • Political Editor, Network 10
  • Contributing Editor, The Australian newspaper