AQ History

AQ: Australian Quarterly has been a part of the country’s public discourse for over 90 years. It has been through many iterations, beginning life as The Australian Quarterly, then becoming AQ: Journal of Contemporary Analysis, and then onwards to AQ: Australian Quarterly.

Since first being published in 1929, AQ has worked hard to maintain relevance and to provide liberal and progressive debate on current issues, and to drive discussion of topics on the horizon.

In 1932, the Australian Institute of Political Science overtook  the running of The Australian Quarterly and continued to build it up as one of the most respected forums for political science debate. Its pages played host to some of the most important political figures and commentators of the time.

In 1998, the Australian Institute of Political Science became one of the first organisations to recognise the inherent social value of science communication. The organisation founded The Tall Poppy Campaign, one of the first – if not the first – awards celebrating the art of public communication of science. It is now Australia’s longest running science communication award, and now encompasses every state and territory.

To reflect this changing mandate, in 2006 the Australian Institute of Political Science rebadged itself as the Australian Institute of Policy and Science. In the subsequent years, AQ followed this trend, widening its editorial priorities from pure political science, to interrogate the interface where science, society and politics meet. In doing so it became Australia’s only publication with a focus on the critical area of science policy.

In 2012 AQ underwent it’s most recent make-over to become the highly visual, modern publication it remains today – combining evidence-informed content with the readability of a glossy magazine. In a world of short and shallow analysis, alternative facts, and a increasingly muddy relationship with evidence, AQ is proud to provide in-depth, long-form analysis of the issues that will shape the country and the world.

For anyone interested in the establishment of AQ and the Australian Institute of Political Science (the forebear of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science) see this article from 1979, celebrating 50 years of AQ.

AQ Through History

For AQ‘s 85th birthday, we dug up and made available a selection of AQ‘s articles through the years, both to show how AQ has changed, and how Australia has changed. We hope you enjoy this walk back through history.

For information on more recent edition and articles, see the Back Issues page


1929 The Australian Quarterly's first year in print and our country was less than three decades post-Federation. The idea of Australia as a nation was still a novel feeling and the shape and terms of our country we yet to solidify. Empire Citizenship And in the wake of WWI, Australia... ...Read More


  1930s The decade of the Great Depression, with the world on the downward slope to war. Even so, Australia seemed a dynamic country through the 1930s. Our fledgling country had won respect in the First World War, we were stepping up in international matters and were taking the time... ...Read More


  1940s The 1940s and the world is at war. The conflict will define the world that comes after it and the reverberations of the decision made in the 40s still echo to this day. Rethinking the White Australia Policy White Australia. The term makes us uncomfortable now, as it... ...Read More


1950s The world is rebuilding out of the wreckage of WWII and we have now entered the atomic age. The Cold War looms but doesn't exert too big an influence on Australian thought. Yet several, very pervasive issues mark the publications in AQ throughout this decade. One is the overwhelming... ...Read More


1960s The momentous decade decade of the moon landing, JFK’s ascension and assassination, the construction of the Berlin Wall and the birth of hippie culture. In AQ there is a definite shift away from internal issues and a greater concept of world politics. Our country had rebuilt from the war,... ...Read More


1970s With the 70s comes a seriousness that pervades not only international politics but internal politics as well. Corporate and government corruption becomes a major concern, typified by the Watergate scandal. Discontent continues to build with the Vietnam war and seems to be the coalescing force behind a bone-deep dislike... ...Read More


 1980s Most of us remember the 80s; Big Hair, bad fashion, Mr Miyagi . Mass media really began coming into it's own. MTV ruled the airwaves, International sharkdom - a la Gordon Gekko - was ushering in the new age of aspiration, accumulation and decadence. The decade in politics encompassed... ...Read More