Peter Hartcher is a leading Australian journalist and author. He is the political editor and international editor for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute and a political commentator with the ABC. He has been writing about power and politics, war and peace, booms and busts for more than 40 years. His latest book is Red Zone: China's Challenge and Australia's Future.
Hartcher has worked as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Washington. He has won Australia's highest journalistic accolade, the Gold Walkley award, and the Citi and Ashurst awards for business reporting.
As the political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, he is the paper's principal commentator on domestic and international politics. While mainly an analyst, he also has broken some of the biggest stories in Australian public life. It was Hartcher's front-page article on June 23, 2010, that triggered Julia Gillard's successful challenge to Kevin Rudd the next day, bringing the Rudd prime ministership to an end.
Hartcher has also broken vital foreign policy stories. His front-page article on November 11, 2011, disclosed that Barack Obama and Julia Gillard had agreed to create a permanent rotating deployment of 2500 US Marines near Darwin. It was to be the first long-term expansion of the US military presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. Hartcher has apeared before parliamentary inquiries to give expert testimony on Australia's relations with Asia and is a long-standing member of the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue.
His 2006 book on the US economy, Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing Seven Trillion Dollars, foresaw the collapse of the American real estate market and the recession that followed.
Hartcher, born in Sydney, began his career in 1982 as a cadet reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald, where he worked for a decade. Assignments included business reporter, Tokyo correspondent, and stints in the Canberra press gallery, finally as chief political correspondent and bureau chief for the Herald. He then moved to the Australian Financial Review, where his positions included Asia-Pacific editor and Washington correspondent. He returned to the Herald in 2004 to take up his current post.
Hartcher is acknowledged as an independent, non-partisan commentator. He has never joined, worked for or contributed to any politician or political party. A survey of Australia's political pundits by Crikey found that there was no more balanced journalist.
Photo: Balzinder Balz