Law, Politics and Intelligence
A Life of Robert Hope
New South Books, 2020
Hardback 416pp RRP $49.99
Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, May 2021
In Australia’s current environment, good intelligence is paramount. Among the key elements of quality national intelligence capacity are well-structured organisations with clear responsibilities and, above all, active and continuous cooperation between them. There is little doubt that a single person had more to do to ensure the efficiency of Australian intelligence than anyone else. He was an outsider to the intelligence community, yet as an incisive Supreme Court judge brought a singular brilliance to the analysis of our intelligence structure through a series of Royal Commissions. His reports, still not fully released to the public shaped, guided and inspired that community.
Justice Hope (1919-1999) had a career in the law which spanned and mastered many key issues. Though first a ‘black-letter’ lawyer, he developed a determination to seek for justice. He possessed many talents, and though not reaching his aspiration to be appointed to the High Court, performed tasks of national importance far outreaching his appointment to the NSW Supreme Court.
Dr Peter Edwards is a renowned scholar whose reputation rests on many historical publications, particularly the Official Histories of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975. He is a writer of singular clarity. This is a very important book: its intelligence lessons alone have singular resonance to Australia’s present circumstances.
The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.