John Garnaut

John Garnaut is a writer and analyst who has made his name explaining how China works and why it matters to Australia. He presents keynote speeches and provides strategic advice to government and private sector clients. He is known for turning otherwise inaccessible information into stories, reports and presentations that are valuable and compelling.

John has been intensively covering the Indo Pacific region and Australia’s place in it for the past decade. He has done so as Fairfax Correspondent in Beijing, Senior Adviser to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Principal Advisor for International Policy in the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

John is considered an authority on China’s elite politics, policy-making and influence and intelligence work abroad. He has advised on the geostrategic Great Game being played out between China, the United States and nations in between. Most of all, he is known for his ability to illuminate the history, the personalities and the stories that bring these important subjects to life.

John is a natural presenter whose insights have been keenly sought by hedge funds, business executives, industry associations, government agencies, think tanks and universities across five continents. He has addressed corporate leaders in Beijing, military strategists in the Pentagon and scholars at the world’s leading universities and think tanks. He enjoys presenting to anyone who is curious about how China works and what it means for their world.

Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office, John worked as Fairfax Media’s Walkley Award-winning Beijing Correspondent and Asia-Pacific Editor. He is author of The Rise and Fall of The House of Bo, which is “by far the most carefully researched and sober analysis of a scandal that has fascinated the world as few other Chinese political stories have done,” according to The New York Review of Books. He is working on a new book about Xi Jinping and his cohort of Red Princelings.

To engage John Garnaut for radio, television, or presentation engagements contact Peter Wall at Wall Media on 0408 489 057 or

Suggested speaking themes:

  1. A practical guide to Chinese marketplace survival.
  2. How Asia is impacting Australian markets, politics and communities.
  3. The Deep Red Turn in Chinese elite politics and the will to power of Xi Jinping.
  4. Chinese influence operations and the misnomer of “soft power”.
  5. Australia and the geopolitical Great Game being played out in our region.
  6. Preparing for the break and reconfiguration of Indo Pacific investment flows, supply chains and technology collaborations.
  7. China’s fight for civil society, enlightenment values and rule of law.


“John it was fascinating to hear your insights on Xi and the Communist Party and the policy reactions they are generating. Your analysis and communication are both superb; congratulations and thank you.”

 – Sam Churchill, Portfolio Manager and Head of the Macro Team, Magellan Financial Group.

“I invited John to speak before we’d ever met because I was impressed with the incisiveness and credibility of his writing.   He was even more fascinating in person. He mesmerised the audience at the University of California, San Diego, with his lively style of storytelling and his depth of knowledge from years of living and reporting in China. He has a unique ability to use anecdotes and portraits of the personalities to illuminate the picture of where China is heading. I can’t think of anyone in Australia – or anywhere else for that matter – who is a better guide to the confusing and secretive world of Chinese politics than John Garnaut.”

– Susan Shirk, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Pacific; Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego.

“Mr. Garnaut has managed to systematically penetrate the deep secrecy surrounding China’s ruling families. His work as a journalist was the envy of every foreign intelligence officer as he has charted the princelings’ family and personal ties, their links to the military, their growing wealth, and, in endless, bitter factional fights, their rise and their fall.”

– Richard McGregor, former FT Washington bureau chief and former Beijing bureau chief, author of The Party and Asia’s Reckoning (forthcoming).

“Mr Garnaut is a China expert, with outstanding knowledge of the China-Australia relationship. He made a valuable and unique contribution while he was employed by PMC.” 

– Allan McKinnon, Deputy Secretary (National Security Division) Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.

On behalf of Peak, I would like to thank you for helping us build our franchise, demonstrate the power of our network and an ability to engage with people like yourself who have a deep and insightful understanding of complex issues such as China.

 Ian Wenham – Managing Director – Peak Investment Partners

John was excellent. Our members found his insights highly valuable and what great timing! We are really happy with how it went and John is a pleasure to work with. We hope to host him again at some stage in the future.

Richard Lindell – Joint Managing Director Corporate Leaders Network