Peter van Onselen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Professor Peter van Onselen (born 1976 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian academic, author and political journalist. He was awarded a PhD in political science from the University of Western Australia, converting his dissertation into a book (published by Melbourne University Press). Van Onselen also holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours in political science, majoring in philosophy, and a Masters in Policy Studies (with Distinction). Both degrees were obtained from the University of New South Wales. He has also completed a Master of Commerce (with Distinction) and was included in the Dean's honours list.

He is a presenter on Sky News Australia, and hosts Australian Agenda. Until 2014, he was the regular presenter of Friday afternoon program The Contrarians, but stepped down as permanent host to begin hosting his Monday to Thursday nightly PVO NewsHour.


Van Onselen grew up in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. He went to The Scots College in Bellevue Hill, University of New South Wales and University of Western Australia.[1]

He is the Contributing Editor at The Australian newspaper and Sky News. He also writes a column in the Sunday Times and is the paper's Political Analyst. Van Onselen hosts PVO News Hour 7-8pm AET Monday to Thursday on Sky News. He also hosts Australian Agenda on Sunday mornings, a joint production between Sky News and The Australian newspaper, interviewing politicians such as Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, John Howard, Barry O'Farrell and Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

In early 2011 van Onselen became a Winthrop Professor and Foundation Chair of Journalism at the University of Western Australia. He was an associate professor in politics and government at Edith Cowan University where he worked from 2004-2011, having previously taught political science at the University of New South Wales. During his time at Edith Cowan University Professor van Onselen held various administrative positions, including chair of the politics and government discipline as well as post graduate coordinator for his school. He was on the faculties higher education research committee.

Prior to completing his PhD and commencing his academic career Professor van Onselen worked for Prime Minister Tony Abbott as an adviser when Mr Abbott was the Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard government. Professor van Onselen also previously worked as a policy analyst in the non-government sector and as an intelligence analyst at the New South Wales Crime Commission.

Dr van Onselen has written or edited four books, including the best selling John Winston Howard (with Dr Wayne Errington), rated by the Wall Street Journal Asia as the best biography of 2007 and shortlisted in the Queensland Premiers literary awards. He also wrote (with Dr Phil Senior) Howard's End, which was short listed for the John Button prize for writings on public policy. Van Onselen has written numerous refereed journal articles and conference papers, including articles for the Australian Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Legislative Studies, the Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics and the Australian Journal of Communication. His teaching and research areas include Australian political institutions, political communications and public policy. More recently he has written book chapters on the role of the media for Palgrave and Oxford University Press publications.

Prior to joining News Corporation, Van Onselen wrote a column for The Bulletin magazine and before that wrote opinion columns across a range of newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, the Canberra Times and The Courier-Mail. He worked for Channel Nine's current affairs program Sunday in 2007 and 2008, where he presented cover stories on Australian politics and provided commentary in the lead-up to the federal election.

Van Onselen has been a panelist for state, federal and United States election coverages for Channels Seven and Nine. He has also appeared on programs such as ABC 7:30 Report, Q&A, Lateline and Four Corners, as well as 60 Minutes on Channel Nine. For the 2010 federal election he was the host of Sky News' 2010 tally room panel and was satirized by the ABC comedy group The Chaser as part of its Yes We Canberra! coverage. Van Onselen debated at university World and Australasian championships with members of the Chaser during their studying days. He was a member of the combined Australian University Test Team at the 1998 Australasian Championships in Sydney, where he reached the semi-finals. He also reached the semi-finals of the 1999 World Debating Championships in Manila.

Personal life[edit]

Van Onselen is married to Ainslie and they have two daughters, Sasha and Chloe.[1]

Published works[edit]

  • John Winston Howard: The Biography (with Wayne Errington, 2007) (Melbourne University Press) finalist for the Queensland Premier's Literary Award
  • Howard's End: The Unravelling of a Government (with Philip Senior, 2008) (Melbourne University Press) finalist for the John Button Prize for public policy writing
  • Liberals and Power: The Road Ahead (Editor, 2008) (Melbourne University Press) launched by radio presenter Alan Jones


  1. ^ a b O'Dwyer, Erin (29 July 2007). "'I'm as boring as John Howard. I like sport and politics'". The Sun-Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 

External links[edit]