Today, a more relevant spin on Aristotle’s maxim “give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man” may be “give me the student and I will show you the prime minister”. We now know that Scott Morrison spent a good amount of time as a university student engrossed in the world of the Christian Brethren.
But what about his predecessors? Let’s look at how other prime ministers spent those splendid university days of intellectual freedom — the years which can be transformative if one is so minded.
Whitlam enrolled at the University of Sydney in 1935. He completed an arts degree and began a law degree which was interrupted by World War II.
Fraser studied at Oxford’s Magdalen College and completed a degree in politics and economics.
Completed a Bachelor of Arts and Laws before going to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Hawke wrote his Oxford University thesis on wage fixing in Australia.
Alone in this batch of PMs, Keating left school at 14. He worked as a clerk at the Sydney County Council and was more interested in the education he could get from his father’s hero, the Labor figure Jack Lang. He also managed a rock band, the Ramrods.
Howard graduated with a Law degree from Sydney University.
Rudd graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. Rudd specialised in Chinese history and language and gained a first class honours for his thesis on Chinese dissident and democracy campaigner Wei Jingsheng.
Gillard graduated with a law degree and then an arts degree from Melbourne University.
Completed a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws at Sydney University. He went to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship where he studied philosophy, politics and economics with mixed results between bouts of boxing. Abbott also commenced studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s seminary at Manly but found it wasn’t what he wanted.
Turnbull graduated with bachelor degrees in arts and law from Sydney University. He also went to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law.