Paul Kelly is the author of six successful books. The Unmaking of Gough (1976), later titled The Dismissal (1982), The Hawke Ascendancy (1984), The End of Certainty (1992), November 1975 published in 1995 and a collection of articles Paradise Divided (2000). The End of Certainty was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most comprehensive account of Australian polity since that of Sir Keith Hancock half a century ago".
He presented the 2001 five-part television documentary for the ABC on Australian history and character '100 Years – The Australian Story' and wrote a book with the same title. He has covered federal governments from Whitlam to Howard. In 2003 he co-edited Hard Heads, Soft Hearts, a new domestic reform agenda for Australia.
Paul Kelly was Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year (1990) and was a double Walkley award winner for journalistic excellence in 2001. He has written widely on international affairs in America, Europe and Asia and has interviewed a number of world leaders including Tony Blair, Lee Kuan Yew, George W Bush and Jiang Zemin.
A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, he holds a doctor of letters from the University of Melbourne and also has honorary doctorates from Griffith University and the University of NSW. Paul Kelly is a participant in the Australia-America Leadership Dialogue. In 2002 he was a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and a visiting lecturer at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.