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Personal profile


Professor James Walter is Emeritus Professor of Political Science in the School of Political and Social Inquiry. He has broad interests in Australian politics and history. He holds a B.A. (Hons) and a Ph.D from the University of Melbourne, and an M.A from La Trobe. Professor Walter is a former Head of the School of Political and Social Inquiry (2006-2009), and a past President of the Australian Political Studies Association (2007-8). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (and served on the Academy's Executive 2006-2009 and 2015-18), and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufactures (UK; 1991-2015). Prior to his appointment at Monash, he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Arts) at Griffith University (1996-2002), and Professor of Australian Studies (1987-2002). He remains a Professor Emeritus at Griffith University. He was Professor and Head of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at the University of London, 1990-1993.

James Walter has published widely on Australian politics, history, biography and culture. Among his books are The Leader: a political biography of Gough Whitlam (1980), The Ministers' Minders: personal advisers in national government (1986), Intellectual Movements and Australian Society (with Brian Head, 1988), Tunnel Vision: the failure of political imagination (1996), The Citizens' Bargain: a documentary history of Australian views since 1890 (with Margaret MacLeod, 2002), No, prime minister: reclaiming politics from leaders (with Paul Strangio, 2007) What were they thinking? The politics of ideas in Australia (2010), Settling the Office: The Australian Prime Ministership from Federation to Reconstruction (with Paul Strangio and Paul 't Hart, 2016) and The Pivot of Power: Australian Prime Ministers and Political Leadership 1949-2016 (with Paul Strangio and Paul 't Hart, 2017). He has also edited books on Australian studies, biographical methods, foreign policy and urban development.

Professor Walter is currently working on a a comparative history of policy deliberation in Australia since the 1950s; a study of political careers; and an examination of the ways in which politicians use history. He maintains broad interests in political leadership, political psychology, political biography, public policy and the history of Australian political institutions.


Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2001 2018

Research Output 1978 2018

Policy narratives in historical transition: A case study in contemporary history

Walter, J. & Holbrook, C. 3 Apr 2018 In : Australian Historical Studies. 49, 2, p. 221-236 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Turnbull versus Shorten: The Major Party Leadership Contest

Strangio, P. A. & Walter, J. A. 2018 Double Disillusion: The 2016 Australian Federal Election. Gauja, A., Chen, P., Curtin, J. & Pietsch, J. (eds.). Canberra ACT Australia: The Australian National University, p. 81-106 25 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Great expectations and great limitations: Walking the tightrope of political leadership in the twenty-first century

Laing, M. & Walter, J. 2017 The Routledge Companion to Leadership. Storey, J., Hartley, J., Denis, J-L., ‘t Hart, P. & Ulrich, D. (eds.). 1st ed. New York NY USA: Routledge, p. 209-224 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

"No loans for ladies": Julia Gillard and capital denied

Walter, J. A. 2017 The Leadership Capital Index: A New Perspective on Political Leadership. Bennister, M., Worthy, B. & Hart, P. . (eds.). 1st ed. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, p. 45-62 18 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review