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Peter van Onselen

Peter van Onselen (born 19 February 1976) is an Australian political academic, author and political journalist and commentator. He is currently Network Ten's political editor and the contributing editor at The Australian newspaper.[1] Between 2010 and 2017, he hosted several programs at Sky News Australia. On 3 December 2018 it was announced that he was joining Network 10 as political editor.


Peter van Onselen
Born (1976-02-19) February 19, 1976 (age 43)
Sydney, NSW
Alma materUNSW
University of Western Australia
EmployerGriffith University
The Australian
Network 10

Early lifeEdit

Van Onselen was born in Sydney, New South Wales and grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.[2] He went to The Scots College in Bellevue Hill, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Western Australia.[3][4]

He was awarded a PhD in political science from the University of Western Australia, converting his dissertation into a book. 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.[4]

Van Onselen debated at University World and Australasian championships with members of comedy group 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 1998/99 World Debating Championships in Manila. In 1999 he convened the Australian Debating Championships at UNSW.[citation needed]


Academic careerEdit

Van Onselen began an academic career at UNSW in 2002, and became an associate professor at Edith Cowan University in 2004, organising the politics and government program. From 2007 to 2008, van Onselen presented stories on the Nine Network's Sunday and wrote a column for The Bulletin.[5] In early 2011, van Onselen left Edith Cowan University to become a Winthrop Professor and Foundation Chair of Journalism at the University of Western Australia.[4]

Prior to completing his PhD and commencing his academic career Professor van Onselen worked for Tony Abbott as an adviser when Mr Abbott was the Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard government in 2001.[2] Van Onselen also previously worked as an intelligence analyst at the New South Wales Crime Commission.[4]

Van Onselen has written several politically-themed books, including the best selling John Winston Howard (co-written with Wayne Errington), which was rated by the Wall Street Journal Asia as the best biography of 2007.[6] Van Onselen has also written numerous refereed journal articles and conference papers, including articles for the Australian Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Legislative Studies.[7] He has also written columns and opinion pieces for a range of newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, The Canberra Times and The Courier-Mail.[4]

Media careerEdit

Van Onselen has featured as a television commentator across numerous broadcasters, including as a panelist for state, federal and United States election coverages for both the Seven Network and Nine Network.[4][8] In 2008, van Onselen was a special investigator for the Perth edition of A Current Affair.[9] He also presented cover stories for the Sunday program on the Nine Network in 2007 and 2008.

In 2009, van Onselen joined The Australian as contributing editor.[10]

For the 2010 federal election he was the host of the National Tally Room panel for Sky News Business.[11] The coverage was plagued by technical errors, and was satirised by the ABC1 comedy group The Chaser during their election parody program Yes We Canberra!.[12]

Following the 2010 election, van Onselen became a regular presenter at Sky News, co-hosting Australian Agenda from 2010[13] as well as his own programs The Contrarians and The Showdown.[14]

In 2014, van Onselen stepped down from hosting The Contrarians (which would later become Keneally and Cameron) and The Showdown was axed, when he was given his own four-times-weekly primetime program PVO Newshour, which premiered on 20 January 2014.[15][16]

On 1 June 2015, van Onselen voluntarily moved his program from primetime to daytime, with the program being retitled PVO NewsDay. Additionally, he co-hosts To The Point with Kristina Keneally, which aired in between his self-titled daytime show.[17] In November 2015, Foxtel confirmed that PVO NewsDay would return for a second season in 2016.[18]

In July 2016, van Onselen added a fourth hosting role at Sky News, presenting morning program Sunday Edition.[19] but relinquished the role in February 2017. In October 2017, it was announced that van Onselen will step down from all his Sky News programs, to become a contributing editor to Sky News as well as revive The Contrarians as a weekly format.[20] However, it was subsequently announced van Onselen had left Sky News after his contract expired at the end of 2017.[21]

In 2018, van Onselen has a weekly segment on Radio National Breakfast, and appears regularly on The Drum, Insiders and The Project.

On December 3. 2018 it was announced that van Onselen was joining Network 10 as political editor.

Personal lifeEdit

van Onselen is married with two daughters.[3]

Published worksEdit

  • John Winston Howard: The Biography (with Wayne Errington, 2007) (Melbourne University Press)
  • Howard's End: The Unravelling of a Government (with Philip Senior, 2008) (Melbourne University Press)
  • Liberals and Power: The Road Ahead (Editor, 2008) (Melbourne University Press)
  • Professionals or Part-timers? Major Party Senators in Australia (2015) (Melbourne University Press) ISBN 978-0-52286-899-9
  • Battleground: Why the Liberal Party Shirtfronted Tony Abbott[22] (with Wayne Errington, 2015) (Melbourne University Press) ISBN 978-0-52286-971-2


  1. ^ "Peter van Onselen - ICMI Speakers Bureau". ICMI. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Connect: Peter van Onselen". Sky News Australia. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "RI Connect - Keynote Speakers". RI Connect. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Master of International Journalism teaching team". University of WA. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  6. ^ "John Winston Howard: The Biography". Good Reads. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Dr Peter Van Onselen: UWA Academic Publications". Archived from the original on 18 April 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  8. ^ Knox, David (9 November 2007). "Election Night: Who's Got What". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  9. ^ Knox, David (20 October 2008). "WIN launches ACA in Perth". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  10. ^ Styles, John (30 March 2009). "Peter van Onselen joins The Australian". Australian Conservative. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  11. ^ Knox, David (21 August 2010). "Election 2010: Guide". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  12. ^ "The Chaser's Yes We Canberra Full Episode 5 - Part 3". YouTube. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  13. ^ Knox, David (2 July 2010). "Airdate: Australian Agenda". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  14. ^ Knox, David (12 September 2011). "Airdate: The Showdown". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "PVO NEWS HOUR". YouTube. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Sky News shakes up line up with Peter Van Onselen moving to daytime show". Mumbrella. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  18. ^ Knox, David (5 November 2015). "Foxtel Upfronts 2016: Local thrillers, Lifestyle & US Drama". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  19. ^ Knox, David (18 July 2016). "New weekend line-up on SKY News". TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Sky News changes: New set, new schedule, expanded lineup". Mediaweek. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  21. ^ Brook, Stephen (5 February 2018). "Sam Neill, Laura Tingle an item". The Australian. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Battleground". Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 8 October 2015.

External linksEdit