He graduated with Arts and Laws (Honours) degrees from the University of Sydney, and was admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW, prior to joining the Australian Diplomatic Service. Apart from assignments in Canberra, he served in Australian embassies in Korea, Vietnam and the USA. Subsequently he worked in the finance industry as chief executive of the national industry association for credit unions, then later as a consultant specialising in public policy and public management issues including pioneering policy development training for the Commonwealth Public Service Commission, and other Commonwealth and state government agencies.
Peter has also been involved in the FOI field for 35 years. He was a consultant to the NSW Premier's Department during the initial phase of introduction of the FOI Act and extensively involved in training in the state and local government sectors.
Peter was Deputy Chair of the Independent Audit of Free Speech in Australia, commissioned by Australia's Right to Know (2007), and a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission Advisory Committee for its reference on secrecy provisions in Commonwealth laws (2008-2009). In 2013 he was appointed to the NSW Information Advisory Committee.
The Open and Shut Blog was first published in 2006.
Peter led in the establishment of the Australian Open Government Partnership Network in 2015 to work with government in developing a national action plan for reform and was a member of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Interim Working Group that provided input prior to finalisation of the plan in December 2016. He stepped down from the convenor role and the network steering committee in 2019.
In May 2017 the Australian Press Council awarded Peter the Press Freedom Medal in recognition of his contribution to freedom of information, and advocacy and support for open government particularly Australian participation in the open government partnership.