What we do

About Us

The Australian Policy & History (APH) Network is a partnership between the Contemporary Histories Research Group at Deakin University and the Australian National University.

APH collaborates with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, including on the Australian Prime Ministers Centre Seminar, 2015.

The Network was co-founded in 2010 by Professor David Lowe at Deakin University,  Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, now at Flinders University, Zoe Pollock of the History Council of New South Wales, and Dr Nicholas Brown from the Australian National University (ANU).

Who we are

David LoweProfessor David Lowe is Chair in Contemporary History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. David is a co-founder of the Australian Policy and History network and a member of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Editorial Advisory Board, advising the Australian Foreign Minister with respect to the Documents on Australian Foreign Policy Series.

His research centres on cultural aspects of the history of international relations, including Australia’s role in the world; and on remembering the legacies of modern wars and empires in comparative contexts. He is currently writing about the role of international education as a component of foreign relations, and about politicians’ uses of history.

Carolyn HolbrookDr Carolyn Holbrook is working on a history of Australians’ attitudes towards their federal system of government. She is interested in the nature of state, national and imperial attachments and how they have been affected by geography, events and the passage of time. Her other major project is a collaboration with Professor James Walter at Monash University about the history of Australian public policy since the 1940s, with a particular focus on indigenous, refugee, housing and employment policies. Carolyn’s book about the history of how Australians have remembered the First World War, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography, was published in 2014.

Dr John Doyle received a PhD in political and policy history from La Trobe University in December 2017. He has been an associate of the Contemporary Histories Research Group at Deakin and honorary associate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe since early 2018. His thesis is on the politics of Australian telecommunications reform from the 1960s to 1990s and is nominated for a Nancy Millis Medal. He also has an MBA from Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne (1998) and a BA with First Class Honours in modern British and German history from the University of Adelaide (1992). John was a National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association postgraduate scholar in 2013-14. His research interests include political, policy and diplomatic history; government and politics; and political leadership and biography.

Anna Kent has a BA (Hons) History/Politics, and a MA (by research) Development Studies. She is currently doing a PhD with Professor David Lowe at Deakin University on ‘Colonial Legacies, Influence and Engagement – Australian and New Zealand Higher Education Aid to the decolonising Pacific’.



Brad Underhill has a BA (Hons.) History and Australian Studies, and a BCOM (Economics). He is currently writing a PhD with Associate Professor Helen Gardner at Deakin University on ‘Colonial Development in Melanesia: Economic and Political Progress or Colonial Control?’.



Deb Lee-Talbot is completing her Honours (History) at Deakin University. A thesis concerning the Argus expedition of 1883 into south-eastern New Guinea is Deb’s current focus, as a means to understand how expedition sketch maps represent the cultural work undertaken by both indigenous and colonial intermediaries. Her primary research interests are religion, gender, Australian and Pacific histories. In 2017 History Today published her article The Spears of Peace.


What we do

The Australian Policy & History (APH) Network aims to provide policymakers, the media and the general public with relevant, accessible information about the historical background to current events and issues.
We connect historians with those making and commenting on public policy, so that the insights gained from the past can be used to inform decision-making in the present, in turn leading to better outcomes in the future.

The APH website publishes articles on current news and affairs by professional historians and other writers engaged with history in Australia and internationally.