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Banner Law, Politics and Intelligence: A life of Robert Hope

ASPI Webinar - Law, Politics and Intelligence: A Life of Robert Marsden Hope

Speakers The Hon. Margaret Stone AO FAAL, Dr Peter Edwards AM FAIIA and Michael Shoebridge

ASPI is delighted to invite you to attend our upcoming webinar to discuss the recently released book, Law, politics and intelligence: A life of Robert Hope. The book’s author, Dr Peter Edwards AM, will be joined by the Hon. Margaret Stone AO, former Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, in a conversation moderated by ASPI's Michael Shoebridge.

Justice Robert Marsden Hope presided over two landmark royal commissions into Australia’s intelligence and security agencies in the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, there has been considerable comment on issues surrounding these agencies, including the powers they have been granted under more than 70 new pieces of national security legislation; the scope of the new Department of Home Affairs; police raids on the ABC offices and a News Corp journalist’s home; the role of the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security; and the prosecutions of ‘Witness K’ and his lawyer. These and other issues all come back to the age-old question: how does a society strike the right balance between national security and civil liberties?

Peter Edwards’ book, Law, politics and intelligence: A life of Robert Hope, offers a historian’s perspective. Hope was commissioned by prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke to conduct three major inquiries, two of which were royal commissions, that transformed the structure, legislation, roles and doctrines of the intelligence agencies, establishing the framework within which they operated, with bi-partisan support, until 2017. Edwards argues that it is only by examining the principles and structures that Hope laid down that we can understand what is currently at stake.

Peter Edwards has published extensively, mostly on Australian foreign, defence and strategic policies and policymaking. His other books include Australia and the Vietnam War and Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins. His books have won several awards.

Register now to watch the event live or on-demand


The Hon. Margaret Stone AO FAAL

Ms Stone was appointed as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security for a five year term on 24 August 2015, concluding her term recently on 23 August 2020.

Dr Peter Edwards AM FAIIA

Peter Edwards is the award-winning author of several books on Australia’s defence and foreign policies, policy-making and policy-makers.

Michael Shoebridge

Michael Shoebridge is the Director of ASPI’s Defence, Strategy and National Security program.