Adams is an Australian broadcaster on the Radio National network
of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), filmmaker, author,
archaeologist, controversialist, Humanist, social commentator and
satirist. He is the author of over 20 books that have sold over
a million copies, including The Unspeakable Adams, Adams Versus
God, The Penguin Book of Australian Jokes, Retreat from Tolerance,
Talkback and A Billion Voices and Adams Ark.
in Maryborough, Victoria, the son and only child of a Congregational
Church minister, he is a self-confessed atheist who sometimes
talks about spiritual matters in his interviews. Phillip Adams
lives on Elmswood, a cattle property specialising in the production
of chemical-free beef, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.
He is a collector of rare antiques, including Egyptian, Roman
and Greek sculptures and artifacts.
Australian social icon (he is one of the Australian Living Treasures)
who could also be described as an iconoclast, and a left-wing
radical thinker. For almost 40 years, Adams' columns in major
newspapers and magazines have provoked discussion and outrage.
He is in demand as a speaker, chairman and moderator at public
and private sector conferences. In his speaking engagements, broadcasts
and writing, Phillip attempts to tackle serious issues in the
21st century using wit, humour and provocative opinions to challenge
thought and stimulate debate.
played a crucial role in breathing life back into the Australian
film industry during the 1970s . The title developed from his
authorship of a report that led Prime Minister John Gorton to
revive the local film industry. In conjunction to this was his
role, with Barry Jones, in creating the Experimental Film Fund
and his strong support for the Australian Film and Television
School. Additionally he devised the South Australian Film Corporation
for Premier Don Dunstan, which became a model for similar bodies
in all other States.
the early 1970s Adams produced or co-produced several features
which are now seen as important stepping stones in the revival
of the local feature film industry, including the critically-panned
but hugely popular film adaptation of Barry Humphries' The Adventures
of Barry McKenzie, directed by Bruce Beresford, which became the
most successful Australian film ever made up to that time. In
1979 a painting of Phillip Adams by artist Wes Walters won the
Archibald Prize, Australia's most famous portraiture prize.
a consultant to prime ministers and premiers, Adams played a key
role in the establishment of the Australia Council, the Australian
Film Development Corporation, the Australian Film Commission,
and the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Adams has been Chair
of the Australian Film Institute, the Australian Film Commission,
the Commission for the Future, the Film Radio and Television Board,
Film Australia and the National Australian Day Council. He is
Chairman of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney
and the Australian National University in Canberra. His board
memberships have included Greenpeace, CARE Australia, The National
Museum of Australia, Adelaide's Festival of Ideas and Brisbane's
Ideas at the Powerhouse.
a broadcaster, Adams has interviewed over 15,000 prominent politicians,
philosophers, economists, scientists, theologians, historians,
archaeologists, novelists and scholars. His radio program, Late
Night Live is broadcast twice a day over the 250-station network
of ABC's Radio National and around the world on Radio Australia
and the World Wide Web. The program attempts a serious discussion
of world issues, often with a humorous and satirical bent. Adams
addresses all listeners to the program as "Gladys".
(This is Adams' half-humorous and half-serious way of saying that
his program is not popular, and for a single listener; but neither
is the case as he also refers to listeners in the plural as "Gladdies",
a fusion of the word glad and an allusion to the Gladiolus flowers
used as a prop by Dame Edna Everage, a character created by his
film colleague Barry Humphries.)
Adams came from a business background in advertising, his politics
are unmistakably progressive and he attracts further controversy
because of his openly atheist and humanist worldview. Because
of his views, presented in a genial, articulate and persuasive
style and because of his prominent position in the Australian
media, Adams has for many years been the target of consistent
criticism by the political right in Australia, especially over
his role as a presenter at the ABC. The "anti-Adams"
campaign reached a crescendo under the controversial regime of
former ABC managing director Jonathan Shier, a strong supporter
of the Liberal Party who was known to have a strong dislike of
both Adams and his politics.
conservatives — including former federal Communcations Minster
Richard Alston — have repeatedly attacked Adams as a prime
example of supposed endemic left-wing bias in the ABC. There have
been consistent calls for the ABC to give equivalent broadcast
time to a politically more conservative commentator (often referred
to as a "right-wing Philip Adams").