Dick Adams, Councillor at Northern Midlands Council and former Federal MP for Lyons
Dick Adams is a life member of TCAL, and our patron. Dick exemplifies the issues of adult literacy for many Australians, having had to learn to read and write as an adult. He now works tirelessly to promote the importance of reading and libraries around Australia.
“When I left school I was nearly illiterate and needed to improve my basic education. Working in the meat industry and the shearing industry, I did not very often need to write.
In the early 1970s, I was elected a full-time trade union official with the Meatworkers Union, and it was then that I realised I had to endeavour to do something to improve my written word and my ability to communicate my ideas, my arguments, and my feelings.
In those days there was very little help for illiterate people or those trying to improve their basic education as an adult. So I had to find something or someone myself. I found someone willing to help and for four years I sat at her kitchen table after work and worked on my reading and writing. I was able to reach a level that made me feel more confident to carry on my work as a union organiser.
In 1979, I was elected to the State Parliament of Tasmania to represent the electorate of Franklin and was a Minister in the Lowe Labor Government.
I was first elected to represent the seat of Lyons in Federal Parliament in 1993 and was re-elected in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and again in 2010.
I am the House of Representative’s representative on the Board of the National Library as well as being Joint Chair of the House Committee of the Parliamentary Library.
In 2012 I was made a National Ambassador for the National Year of Reading, and have spent time since then talking with students at schools across my electorate about the importance of reading.
I have been Patron for the Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy as well as a life member.
I owe a lot to all those people who have helped me gain literacy as my life changed direction completely once I could read and write.”
See Dick Adam’s speech in Federal Parliament during Reading Week, May 2012.