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Professor Michael Leach



Michael Leach is a Professor in Politics and International Relations in the Department of Social Sciences. He teaches in Comparative Politics, and the Politics of the Pacific. His research interests include nation-building in the Asia-Pacific, the politics of Timor-Leste, the politics of Melanesian & Pacific nations, and comparative immigration and asylum policy. Michael is also an Australian legal practitioner, and officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He has previously taught in politics at Deakin University, at the University of Queensland, and South Thames College in London.

Current Postgraduate Supervision

  • Mavis Boamah,'Access to settlement services among young South Sudanese and Ethiopian refugees from conflict zones' (with Dr Sal Clark & Dr Catherine Hartung)
  • Dimity Hawkins, 'Nuclear Shadows: Nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific and the Fijian response 1966-1975' (with Dr Julie Kimber and Dr Chris Agius)
  • Bilal  Al-Titi, 'China - Middle Eastern Relations in the Age of COVID' (with A/Prof Lorenzo Veracini)
  • Dr Mica Barreto-Soares, 2021. 'China and Timor-Leste: A Study of Bilateral Relations 2002-2018' (with Dr Chris Agius)
  • Dr Chris Mudaliar. 2020. 'Lessons in Nation-building: Reframing a Fractured Nation' (PhD, with Dr Chris Agius)
  • Dr Athar Shafaei. 2020. 'The Socio-Economic Impact of Economic Sanctions on Afghan Refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran' (PhD, with Dr Hadi Sohrabi)
  • Dr Todd Farrell. 2020. 'The Australian Greens: Realignment Revisited in Australia' (PhD, with Dr Damon Alexander)
  • Dr Ivana Randjelovic. 2019. 'Being and Belonging: Stories of second-generation Serbian migrants in Germany and Australia' (PhD, with Dr Glenda Ballantyne)
  • Dr Larry Schwartz. 2017. 'A Knock at the Door: A non-fiction Artefact and Exegesis' (PhD)
  • Dr Sara Currie. 2016. 'Destination Brand Building for Emerging Nations: the Case of Timor-Leste (PhD)
  • Dr Salma Shafiq. 2016.  'Acculturation Barriers for Bangladeshi Migrants' (PhD, with Dr Julie Kimber).
  • Dr Sarah Smith, 2015. 'Gender in United Nations peacebuilding: A case study of Timor-Leste' (PhD, with Dr Chris Agius)
  • Dr Sal Clark. 2015. 'Navigating Asylum: Journeys from Indonesia to Australia' (PhD, with Dr Julie Kimber).
  • Dr Riccardo Armillei. 2015. 'Romanies in Italy: From "National Emergency" to "National Strategy" in Rome's "Camp Nomadi"' (PhD, with A/Prof Lorenzo Veracini)
  • Tim Clark, 2019. 'Understanding Australia’s Strategic Relationship with Papua New Guinea and the Implications of China’s Rise: An Examination of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper' (Masters of Research, with Dr Chris Agius)

Research interests

Politics of East Timor; Politics of Melanesia (Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG, New Caledonia); Refugee and Immigration Policy; Temporary Protection Visas; Anti-immigration movements (eg One Nation)

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Historical Studies - 430300
  • Comparative Government And Politics - 440803

Teaching areas



Also published as: Leach, Michael; Leach, M.; Leach, Michael P.
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Recent research grants awarded

  • 2023: Access and Experiences of housing and education among young African refugees resettled in Australia (Student) *; Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Fund Scheme
  • 2022: Pacific Attitudes Survey *; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Cwlth)
  • 2018: Pacific Attitudes Survey *; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Cwlth)
  • 2009: After the crisis: Nation-building challenges in East Timor *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme

* Chief Investigator