Bob Ellis (born 1942, Lismore, New South Wales) is an Australian writer, journalist, film-maker and political commentator. He was a student at the University of Sydney at the same time as other notable Australians including Clive James, Germaine Greer, Les Murray, John Bell, Ken Horler, and Mungo McCallum. He lives in Sydney with the author and screenwriter Anne Brooksbank; they have three children.
Early Years 
Ellis was born in Lismore and raised a Seventh Day Adventist. He says the "seminal moment" of his life happened when he was ten and his 22 year old sister was killed while crossing the road. He attended Lismore High then Sydney University on a Sir Robert Menzies scholarship. On graduating he did a variety of jobs, eventually winding up at the ABC.
Ellis was a regular contributor to the Nation Review in the 1970s and subsequently contributed to Fairfax Media newspapers and National Times
In 1970 he became known for co-writing The Legend of King O'Malley, a musical play based on the life of King O'Malley, with co-author Michael Boddy). He became a popular playwright, usually working in collaboration. From 1975-86 Ellis and his wife also owned the Stables Theatre in Kings Cross, Sydney, during which time it became home to the Griffin Theatre Company. They sold it in 1986 for $200,000.
Ellis has written several films, notably The Nostradamus Kid (1992), Cactus (1986) (with Paul Cox), My First Wife (1984) (with Paul Cox), Where the Green Ants Dream (Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen) (1984) film (with German film director Werner Herzog, Man of Flowers (1983) (with Paul Cox), Goodbye Paradise (1983), ... Maybe This Time (with Anne Brooksbank) (1981), Fatty Finn (1980), and Newsfront (1978). Most of his film scripts, as with his plays, were written in collaboration with other writers.
In 1980 Ellis signed a contract with the New South Wales Film Corporation to write ten feature film scripts over two years for $7,000 for each script, with a payment of $12,000 for the second draft if they wanted to make the movie. Ellis says he presented them with 33 ideas, and they chose five and he chose five.
He has also directed several films including The Nostradamus Kid (1992), Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (1988), Unfinished Business (1985) and Run Rabbit, Run (2007).
His writing for television includes a miniseries The True Believers (with co-author Matt Carroll) and Infamous Victory: Ben Chifley's Battle for Coal (2008), with co-author Geoff Burton, made for Film Australia.
He won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay for Newsfront (1978) (with Anne Brooksbank and Phillip Noyce) and for My First Wife (1984) (with Paul Cox).
Ellis, a supporter of the Australian Labor Party, has written speeches for a number of Labor leaders (such as Bob Carr, Paul Keating and Kim Beazley), and written extensively on Labor history.
In regards to Ellis' speech writing, Beazley had said on the 7.30 Report that if he had used any of Ellis' speeches he would have been out of politics.
Ellis' involvement in politics became more direct when he unsuccessfully contested the Federal seat of Mackellar as an independent candidate against the Liberal Party's Bronwyn Bishop in a by-election in 1994 as the ALP did not field a candidate at that by-election.
His 2011 book Suddenly, Last Winter - An Election Diary created headlines for its criticism of Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and praise for Liberal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. He described Gillard as "not well informed" and "sudden, firm and wrong" in everything she does. He also said "She has no power, no influence, no friends, no learning. There's not much there", whilst describing Abbott as having "good manners", being "formidable" and possessing a "first-class mind".
Ellis has written speeches for South Australian premier Mike Rann for a number of years.
Ellis has written two books Goodbye Jerusalem and Goodbye Babylon, on his experiences of the Labor party. The first edition of Goodbye Jerusalem was pulped following a successful defamation case brought by two Liberal cabinet ministers, Tony Abbott and Peter Costello, and their wives. The publisher, Random House, accepted that the disputed content was a falsehood and the book was removed from sale. ACT Supreme Court Justice Higgins awarded the two politicians and their wives a total of $277,000 damages. A new edition of the book was published three months later, which omitted the defamatory passage.
In 1998 Penguin Books Australia published Ellis's First Abolish the Customer – 202 Arguments Against Economic Rationalism. Penguin published Ellis's The Capitalism Delusion – How Global Economics Wrecked Everything and What To Do About It in 2009 and "One Hundred Days of Summer" in 2010..