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Peter Hartcher is an award-winning journalist and author. He is the Political and International Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute, a foreign policy think tank located in Sydney.
Peter Hartcher was born on 9 August 1963 in Sydney, Australia. He completed his college education at Chevalier College. Hartcher, a native of Sydney, began his career as a cadet reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald in 1982, where he remained for a decade. Business reporting, a stint as Tokyo correspondent, and spells in the Canberra press gallery preceded his appointment as the Herald's top political journalist and bureau head. After that, he worked for the Australian Financial Review as an Asia-Pacific editor and Washington reporter. In 2004, he returned to the Herald to take up his current position.
Peter Hartcher is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute, renowned for its discussions on foreign policy. For three years, he worked as the correspondent for the Australian Financial Review in Washington DC. Upon his return to Australia in 2003, he joined the Lowy Institute as a Visiting Fellow. During his time there, he wrote a book on the Wall Street bubble of 1996-2000 and the ensuing recession. In 2004, he began a new job as Political Editor and International Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Plenty of awards have decorated Peter's writing and journalism career. The Gold Walkley Award was awarded to Peter for his investigative series into how Australia secretly negotiated a security treaty with a Southeast Asian country. He won the Citibank Grant for Business Reporting for his coverage of the Asian financial emergency. He was a Walkley finalist in 1992 for an insightful record of how Paul Keating challenged Bob Hawke for the Prime Ministership of Australia and again in 2003 for his examination of US intentions in the attack of Iraq. He has been called twice to testify as an expert witness to Federal Parliamentary investigations into Australia's relations in the Asia-Pacific and appointed to write essays on Asia for the Washington-based international strategy journal, The National Interest.
Peter's book, The Ministry: A Primary Point-by-Point Study in English of Japan's Ministry of Finance, is a window into Japan's unfortunate bubble economy and an insight into how Japan functions. It was published in Japanese in 1997 and then in the US by Harvard Business School Press in 1998. Business Week described it as "a brilliant mix of statistics, case studies, juicy anecdotes, and analysis that was key to understanding the recent past and future of Japan's political economy." David Hale called it "a fascinating account," and Professor Ross Garnaut said it was "highly recommended for business consultants, scholars, and government leaders."
In 2019, Hartcher was involved in controversy due to his prominent role in promoting doubt and hostility toward China. In September 2016, he wrote a provocative article labeling those he blamed for representing Chinese influence in Australia as "rodents, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows" and named serving and resigned Australian politicians, academics and university think tanks, representatives, ethnic Chinese associations, and Chinese students as "Four Pests" that should be eradicated. Hartcher has maintained a drumbeat of provocative opinion pieces, and he acknowledges the media campaign for forcing the Liberal-National Party Coalition government and Labor Party opposition to unite in 2018 and enact "foreign interference" laws.
Peter Hartcher has not revealed any public information about his private or personal relationships.
Hartcher's first book, The Ministry, was released in 1998 and was an exposé of the Japanese Ministry of Finance's part in the country's economic collapse and ensuing stagnation. Hartcher's critique of Greenspan's and the Federal Reserve Board's management of the US economy during the years of irrational exuberance, Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing 7 Trillion Dollars, was published in 2004 to mixed reviews in the United States, but was met with tremendous critical enthusiasm internationally. Hartcher published Bipolar Nation: How to Win the 2007 Election in Black Inc's Quarterly Essay (ISBN 9781863954013) in 2007, a study of the Australian electorate's collective psychology and what he claimed was its particular vulnerability to manipulation.
In 2009, Hartcher released To The Bitter End: The Dramatic Story of John Howard's Fall and Kevin Rudd's Rise (Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74175-623-4). In 2011, Hartcher won the 2013 Ashurst Business Literature Award for his book The Sweet Spot: How Australia Made Its Luck – And Could Now Throw It All Away. His second Quarterly Essay, "Red Flag: Waking Up to China's Challenge," was published in 2019.
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