Born in South Africa, Colin migrated and completed his doctorate on Aboriginal affairs at the Australian National University in 1964. He held chairs of Politics at the University of New England and at Macquarie University. He is currently visiting professor of Politics at ANU. He has written 25 books — on topics such as South African apartheid, comparative race politics, genocide and Holocaust, migration, suicide, and sports history. His memoir, Human Rights and Human Wrongs, Monash University (2015) explains his preoccupation with race politics.