Peter Thompson (broadcaster)

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Photograph of Peter Thompson in 2010

Peter Thompson (born 1952) is an Australian broadcast journalist and educator. He is a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government[1] and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University. Thompson is director of the Centre for Leadership, a private consultancy on communication.

He was the presenter of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Talking Heads, a weekly biographical television program about the lives of prominent Australians, which began on ABC1 in 2005 and ended in 2010 after 238 episodes.[2]


Peter Thompson was born in Sydney, Australia, and was educated at St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill and St Pius X College, Chatswood. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University in 1977, a Masters of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management in 1984 and a Masters of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in 1987.

Professional life[edit]

Thompson began his career as a sports broadcaster on Radio 2LF Young in 1970. He moved to Tasmania in 1972 and worked as a presenter on various commercial stations, including 7EX, 7LA and TNT9. He also presented the ABC TV current affairs program, This Day Tonight in 1978.

From 1979 to 1982, as Project Officer for the Australian Conservation Foundation, he was a leader of the effort to protect the world heritage values of Tasmania's Franklin and Gordon Rivers from hydro-electric development. He wrote two books on the campaign.[3][4] In 1985 he was presented with the University of New South Wales Alumni Award[5] for his role in conservation.

Thompson presented 702 ABC Radio's Drivetime in 1987 and then the ABC morning current affairs program AM from 1988 to 1993. He was presenter of ABC Radio National's Breakfast from 1994 to 1999 and from 2003 to 2004. He also hosted a series of 35 Wisdom Interviews for Radio National from 2002-2004.

Thompson was appointed a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government in 2007 and teaches executive programs in public policy with a focus on communication concepts. His interests include political and social change, risk communication and behavioural change. He became an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University's Department of International Communication in 2006.

The Centre for Leadership creates educational workshops for the public, private and not-for-profit sectors on public interest issues such as ethics and communicating with integrity, according to Aristotle's principles of ethos, pathos and logos.


  • Power in Tasmania, Australian Conservation Foundation, 1982.
  • Bob Brown of the Franklin River, Allen and Unwin, 1985.
  • The Secrets of the Great Communicators, ABC, 1992.
  • Persuading Aristotle, Allen and Unwin, 2001.
  • Wisdom: The Hard Won Gift, Interviews, ABC, 2003.
  • Talking Heads, Interviews, ABC Books, 2008.
  • More Talking Heads, Interviews, ABC Books, 2009.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Knox, David (30 November 2010). "Talking Heads wraps six years of chat". TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Peter; Australian Conservation Foundation (1981), Power in Tasmania, Australian Conservation Foundation, ISBN 978-0-85802-067-2 
  4. ^ Thompson, Peter; Thompson, Peter, 1952- (1985), Bob Brown of the Franklin River, George Allen & Unwin, ISBN 978-0-86861-673-5 
  5. ^

External links[edit]