Ashton Robinson was born in Waratah, NSW, in 1950 and educated at The Armidale School and Australian National University, where he graduated with an M.A. in African History.
He had an initial career in the then Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra. Most of his subsequent experience in government was with the Australian Department of Defence, the Iraq Survey Group in Baghdad and the Office of National Assessments (ONA) – which is part of the Australian Prime Minister’s portfolio – dealing with long-term strategic matters, including terrorism, transnational crime and irregular migration.
In the 1980s, Ashton published as Assistant Editor, three volumes of documents on Australian foreign policy in the 1940s. He was an occasional lecturer in History at Wollongong, Sydney and La Trobe universities in Australia and on strategic issues at the Australian Defence Force Academy and at the Australian Command and Staff College in Canberra. He has also lectured at all of the Australian Defence Force single service staff colleges and at the University of Seychelles.
In 2016, he joined the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences as an Honorary Fellow.