Peter Botsman is one of Australia's most creative public intellectuals. For the past fifteen years Peter has worked on projects in Cape York, the Pilbara, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, Timor Leste, Shepparton and the NSW South Coast because of his interest in Aboriginal economic development and his work as voluntary national secretary of the ISX (Indigenous Stock Exchange). He writes about a diverse range of public policy, political and other issues. His latest book project is a story about an Irish fairy who comes to Tasmania just after the genocidal war against Tasmanian Aborigines. His long planned book about the great Tasmanian Andrew Inglis Clark is also in the pipeline.
Peter Botsman studied at Cornell University, New York, from 1972 to 1974 and completed a joint BA (Hons) degree at Griffith University, Queensland in 1976. His honours thesis was on Manning Clark's A History of Australia. With Dr. Lyndal Ryan as his mentor, he was lucky to spend some time with Clark during this period. Following a Diploma of Education from Melbourne University and a Master of Philosophy on Althusser, Donzelot and Michel Foucault from Griffith University. He completed his doctorate at the University of NSW in 1987 under David Walker. The thesis was titled The Sexual and the Social and was a history of sexually transmitted diseases and their medical-social construction. Botsman accepted his first teaching position as a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Technology, Sydney from 1986 to 1987. He taught the history of new technology to a multi-disciplinary cohort of engineering, accounting, humanities and computing science students. In August 1987 he was appointed Director of the Evatt Research Centre and in 1988 Executive Director of the Evatt Foundation. When Botsman left the Evatt Foundation was considered the most important Labor think tank of its time. In 1991, Botsman won a Harkness Fellowship to the City University of New York and wrote USA Care: A National Health Insurance Strategy for the USA(Chicago, 1991). His work was well recognised in the USA, He was invited to President Clinton's inauguration in 1992 and continues to work with key American policy makers. In 1997 Botsman was appointed Associate Professor in Public Health and Public Policy at the University of Western Sydney (Macarthur) and Head of the division of Public Health. Botsman took up an appointment as Professor of Public Policy, University of Queensland and Executive Director of The Brisbane Institute from 1 March 1999 to 1 March 2001. During that time The Brisbane Institute emerged as Queensland's pre-eminent public policy forum featuring a wide range of international, national and local speakers. In May 2001 Professor Botsman returned to Western Sydney as the Foundation Director of the Whitlam Institute and resigned from this position in November 2002. In a short time Botsman established Mr. Whitlam's Prime MInisterial archive and had posted all Mr. Whitlam's historic speeches and photographs online accessible to the public. He also organised a large number of seminars and exhibitions of Mr. Whitlam's photographs and memorabilia. He very much enjoyed the time he spent working with Mr. Whitlam in his office at 100 William St. The ISX has been a consuming passion of Botsman's after 2006. This was the brain child of several people including Botsman, Kevin Fong in Broome, Nic Frances and Noel Pearson and the Social Entrepreneurs Network and was supported by Paul Briggs, Gerhardt Pearson, Dhanggal Gurruwiwi and several other Aboriginal leaders. One of the goals of the ISX was not to fall under the shadow of government and to continuously focus on creating an independent Aboriginal economy. Another important principal was merit based management and ownership. The ISX has slowly built itself up to a point where it is a very useful vehicle for Aboriginal enterprise development. With little internal funding the ISX has performed extremely well and it continues to build its resources and capacity. Botsman has continued to write and publishes many articles each year at www.workingpapers.com.au. Professor Botsman's The Great Constitutional Swindle A Citizen's Guide to the Australian Constitution was shortlisted for the Centenary of Federation Prize in 2001 and his book with Noel Pearson and Mark Latham The Enabling State went through a number of print runs. Botsman is also a passionate biodynamic organic farmer. His farm at Kangaroo Valley stocks 100 Scottish Hignland cattle and produces macadamia nuts. He follows the work and teachings of Alex Podolinsky in Melbourne on farming. He has established his dream workshop and library at Eramboo Farm, Kangaroo Valley.