20 Answers From The Wayside


Graham is the pastor and CEO of the Wayside Chapel. Set up by Ted Noffs in 1964, the Wayside has been providing unconditional love, care and support for people on and around the streets of Kings Cross since 1964. Before he took the reins at the Wayside, Graham worked as a postie, a social worker in child protection and a prison chaplain as well as running a church welfare agency.

We are very happy to report that Graham’s answer to Question 5 — "Complete this sentence. I’d like to hear Kevin Rudd say…" — is out of date. The answer he sent to us went like this: "This city and this country need the Wayside Chapel. Here, have this cheque for $2 Million."

The buildings of the Wayside have been in a state of dereliction for some years and it was unclear whether the organisation would be able to keep providing its services. When Graham issued a call for help to the community, he was met with a deluge of private donations, a hefty lump sum from the NSW Government — and a $3 million cheque from the Federal Government. The rebuilding is slated to begin in May next year.

1. If you were given $5 million, what would you spend it on?
I’d buy a house for my daughter-in-law. 500K would do the job. My son died this year leaving a wife and three daughters. I’d love to buy them a house.

I’d buy a unit for my daughter too. It’s tough for this generation to buy a place with just a single income. 500K would be heaps.

And I’d give the remainder to the Wayside Chapel whose very existence is threatened because of its poor buildings. $4 million would get the job done.

2. Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Kevin Rudd. I’d like to stay stuck long enough to hear some rational reason why we have Australian troops living and dying in Afghanistan — we could be there a long time.

3. What trivia topics will you beat everyone else in the pub to the buzzer on?
I’m strong on history and strong on philosophy but my mind moves slowly and so I doubt that I would ever beat anyone to the buzzer on any topic.

4. The headline you’d most like to see on the front page of a daily newspaper.
Australia Welcomes The Boat People OR War On Drugs All Over.

5. Complete this sentence. I’d like to hear Kevin Rudd say ". . ."
"This city and this country need The Wayside Chapel. Here, have this cheque for $2 Million."

6. If you could have made one major life move differently, what would it have been?
I would have studied Latin at school or somewhere along the way. Otherwise, when it comes to "major moves" I am the fluke artist of all time.

7. You’re on a desert island with only a magical television for entertainment. It only broadcasts sports. It can only broadcast one sporting code. You choose the sport.
That is this "hell" you’re talking about? Does the TV have an off button?

8. You’ve been appointed research director for an organisation funded by a hands-off philanthropist. What do you tell your staff to find out?
Find me a list of charities whose CEO is paid under 100K per annum and who doesn’t drive a company car. That would narrow the field considerably.

9. How often do you check your email?
Oooops! A lot. Maybe a dozen times a day.

10. What annoys you about politicians?
Lack of courage. They have to be so aware of what will work rather than what is right. It seems like they think opinion polls indicate truth of some solid kind.

11. Name someone in Australian public life who deserves a promotion.
Tanya Plibersek: a most able, honest and decent person.

12. Name someone in Australian public life who should be out on their ear.
NSW Liberal Peter Debnam. He demonstrated extraordinary incompetence in the last NSW State election.

13. Can we fix climate change?
If "we" is the human race, the answer must be "yes". If "we" is Australia, the answer must be "no".

14. If we were in a karaoke club and not online, what song would you sing?
Some old Beatles tune. I’d need a few drinks first.

15. Have you ever seen a ghost?

16. Computers could be improved. How?
They could all be Apple Macs.

17. I’m going to get a coffee? What can I get you?
Short black, thanks.

18. Do you have a hidden talent?

19. What image should hang on the wall of the PM’s office?
A large photo of Australia’s poorest citizen.

20. What question should we ask our next interviewee?
If this was the day of your death, how would you spend the day?

BONUS: This is the question from our last interviewee:

What is your favourite quote?
"All real living is meeting", Martin Buber.

Second favourite:"What does it profit if you gain the whole world but lose your very self", Jesus Christ.

Both statements are closely related.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.