‘Off the Cuff’ with Wendy Francis

Wendy Francis

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — Wendy Francis has many strings to her bow. She is Queensland Director of the Australian Christian Lobby and is the ACL spokesperson for the rights of children and women. She is also a tireless campaigner against sexual exploitation. Professional experience includes managerial positions at Griffith University and Queensland Baptists. She was also Executive Producer of the Lord Mayor’s Carols in Brisbane for eight years. In addition, Wendy is a Director and Board Member of Samaritan’s Purse Australia and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a board member of Queensland Family Council, the Queensland Alliance for Kids and the Australian Marriage Forum. Wendy regularly travels to countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and Cambodia to oversee projects which seek to rescue women and children from sex slavery and to work on literacy projects amongst rural women. Her husband, Peter Francis, is Vice-Principal of Malyon College in Brisbane. They have been married for 36 years, have three married children and ten grandchildren. She chatted to JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … I’m actually really good at keeping secrets!

My first job was … working as a manager’s assistant in the National Bank of Australasia – now NAB – I was a good typist, so had to help out the real estate next door when they needed contracts typed up!

My most annoying habits are … not putting things back in the same place, or not putting them away at all!

A clear childhood memory is … hiding coins in a hole in an old neighbourhood fence with my best friend. There was a little shop at the end of our street and my mum would send us down to buy milk or bread and she would say we could keep the change. So we would hide it there and wait until we had enough to buy some lollies together.

What makes me nervous is … snakes! I hate them – can’t even look at them in a book or on the TV screen.

The best advice my parents gave me was … to seek after the truth and be a teller of truth.

If I weren’t Qld Director of ACL I’d be … a top lawyer – even a judge! And I would be a good one!

I’m most thankful for … my family – my parents, my husband, my children and my grandchildren.

My favourite meal is … grilled salmon with sweet potato mash and garden salad.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … taking any tablets – I’m sure it’s psychological, but I just can’t swallow pills very easily – I gag!

A book I love is … Riven Fetters by Sallie Lee Bell. I first read it when I was a very young girl and it had a big impact on me then – I still love it.

A song that resonates is …I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack – And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance … I hope you dance!

My ‘happy place’ is … anywhere family is, but my favourite places with family are either home, or the beach.

My most embarrassing memory is … buying a Mark Holden single (back in the days), and being asked by Mark Holden himself (who happened to be in the shop) whether I wanted it signed, but not recognising him … He did end up signing it when he explained who he was.

My hidden skill is … that I make an amazing lemon meringue pie.

If I were a dog, I’d be a … Golden Retriever – a bit clumsy, but very loyal, and would never hurt anyone intentionally

It’s a bit corny, but I love … Sandra Bullock’s humour – she would be on my list of who I’d love to have for dinner.

I’m most at peace when … I’m with my husband at the end of a day and we get time to just talk.

The country I’d love to visit is … Antarctica

Favourite quote … “Nah” – this was Rosa Parks‘ response to the police officer who demanded she move from her seat on the bus because she was coloured and a white man wanted to sit where she was sitting. I love it – No! we will not bend to injustice.

Rosa Parks

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“Off the Cuff” with Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise

PIETERMARITZBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—MICHAEL CASSIDY, world renowned author, speaker and founder of African Enterprise gives JournoNews an insight into the man behind the evangelist.

My secret pleasure is … Let me put a question to you … Can you keep a secret? You can? Well, so can I!

My first job was … a school master teaching little boys French, Latin, cricket, soccer and boxing!

My most annoying habits are … Ask my friends. I don’t think any of my habits are annoying!!

A clear childhood memory is … early morning horseback rides with my dad.

What makes me really nervous is … being caught by surprise and asked to propose a toast to someone.

The best advice my parents gave me was … wait for the right girl to marry.

If I wasn’t an evangelist, I’d be … a panel beater, because I love seeing a born again car after a crash!

I’m most thankful for … my parental upbringing, for Robbie Footner who led me to Christ, for my wife, Carol, and for my children.

Servant of SlavesMy favourite meal is … breakfast. Nothing in the world can beat bacon and eggs.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … broccoli.

A book I love is … Grace Irwin’s Servant of Slaves: Biographical Novel of John Newton.

A song that resonates is … ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring Again’ by Welsh composer Ivor Novello.

(written for the hit musical romance “Perchance to Dream” which opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in London’s West End in 1945 and ran until 1948. Original version also called We’ll Gather Lilacs In The Spring)

My ‘happy place’ is … my study at home.

My most embarrassing memory is … emerging stark naked from a shower at a gym and being confronted by a woman. With no option but to brazen it out, I asked casually, “Are you looking for the ladies?” “Yes”, she replied, “This is the ladies!” Mmmm!

My hidden skill is … playing the piano, but it is now so hidden that sadly I don’t play it anymore.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Golden Retriever which is a human with fur on it!

It’s a bit corny but I love … old time musicals.

I’m most at peace when … when I’m quietly at home with Carol over a weekend with no public commitments.

Country I’d love to visit … China via the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Favourite quote …

“I have only two days in my diary: Today, and That Day” (Martin Luther)


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Michael’s books

Leading a Blonde Astray

I took my dog for a walk this morning.

I snuck out the back way, through the bush and along the fire track. I was rather hoping to avoid Slater. Slater is the neighbourhood vagabond.

We live in a picturesque little enclave where most properties ramble into each other without the concern of fences. This is not sensible suburbia, neatly fenced and gated where the neighbourhood dogs are restricted to their allotted area.

In spite of the general lack of confines, however, most local dogs stay on their own turf and have no interest in roaming further than the postbox at the end of a rather long driveway. Slater has changed all that.

He has marked the entire neighbourhood as his own. Slater lifts his leg on everything within a ten mile radius of home. He has lifted his leg on my washing, on the barbeque and on my pot plants – even my husband’s undies on a drying rack out the back have been territorially marked.

He has chewed three pairs of children’s shoes and one of my own. He has been banished several times – his owners have tied him up and severely admonished him, replaced chewed shoes and tied him up for good measure. Slater, I’m afraid simply chomps through the rope and with an ‘up yours’ attitude continues his pursuits unabated.

This dog has no shame. He returns to the scene of past misdemeanours without a smidgen of guilt.

Slater, were he human, would hang his head in shame at the abuse that is hurled at him from far and wide. He would not dare show his face lest he be chased, ordered home again and told in no uncertain terms he was unwelcome.

But Slater is a loveable rogue. He appears to have decided that if looks alone are not going to get him places in life, character surely will.


Part wolf-hound, part bull terrier—he was blessed with the unfortunate albino genes of the bull-terrier rather than the more handsome characteristics of the wolfhound.

There is vague evidence of wolfhound in his lanky physique and the pronounced whiskers on his snout, but it ends there. His face has a permanent grin and he has one pink-rimmed eye on the albino side of his face.

There is one redeeming feature – a motley brown patch over one eye that while appealing in an Nguni cow sort of way, simply adds to the general feeling he’s up to no good.

He has no manners at all. When he drinks from my dog’s water bowl he puts his entire snout in, rather like a pig, splashing water all over my freshly mopped veranda.

While I know there is no good in him at all, I can’t help liking him. There’s something appealing—enviable even, in the way he gallops through life. He doesn’t just embrace it, he chews on it.

All this would be good and well if he stayed home. But, I fear he is leading my lady golden retriever Tarna astray.
In the early days, before Slater’s arrival, Tarna was beyond reproach.

Our property isn’t fenced but Tarna kept watch at the front door, occasionally wandering into the bush or up the drive way to bark, in a lady-like fashion, at the postman, plumber or whoever turned up in our cul-de-sac. I prided myself on the fact that my beloved pooch knew her place—home was where her heart was. She was so well behaved and mature.

We went for scenic little walks—just the two of us—me like a smug mother of one who scorns other wayward children.
And then along came Slater and with him, a whiff of scandal.

‘I saw your dog with Slater at the dam the other day,’ commented my neighbour one fine day.

I was aghast, surely not, must have been another dog.

‘No, it was definitely her—having a right old time, they were,’ she said.

Now the dam is not exactly around the corner, it is, quite literally, over the hill and far away. Far too far away for comfort.

I made excuses, as dog owners in denial sometimes do. I’d been away, the children were at school, she certainly wouldn’t do it again. It was so out of character.

And this is where the story took a dark turn. Other comments from other neighbours confirmed my worst fears. Tarna had been led astray by a mutt less than half her age. It was a disgrace and she seemed to be enjoying every deceitful moment.

She became like a puppy again – all panting and playful when he was around. And worse, she appeared to be chasing him!

Sometimes, she wasn’t even at home when I returned. She wasn’t faithfully waiting at the front door like the lady she once was. She was with him!

We have tried counselling. Just this week my daughter sat her down and had a frank discussion. ‘Tarna,’ she said, ‘this is not going to end well, ‘he really is far too young – no more cavorting near the dam with dogs less than half your age, Ok?’

It’s hard to know if she listened—she simply fixed her liquid brown eyes on my daughter’s face and lifted her paw. Was that ‘let’s shake on it’ or ‘I’m sorry, I just can’t give him up?’

I’m afraid I’m at my wit’s end. Where is it all heading? There is one small glimmer of hope: That Slater will grow tired of his blonde, adoring neighbour and seek greener pastures.

I’m hoping those greener pastures will lead to Rosie. Rosie is a friend’s fox terrier who is soon moving up the hill. Like all dogs of his ilk, perhaps Slater will charm some other sweet young thing. Until then, I have to attempt avoidance. I am a dismal failure at it.

I sneak through the long grass and Slater stalks after us. He endures my half-hearted attempt at throwing stones at him, ordering him home, all the while skulking closer until he knows all my resolve has gone and I’ve given up completely. Tarna doesn’t help; she’s all panting flirtatiousness—without an ounce of coyness, her blonde mane blowing in the breeze.

This morning, He came with us on our walk—again. Or should I say, we went with him. He led the way as though he’d lived on this earth all his life. He lifted his leg on every dirt bin, telephone pole and gate post he came across. He chased a brush turkey and sized up a horse, standing far too close to its back leg to have a good old sniff.

‘He’s not my dog,’ I explained to a disdainful passer-by.

She gave a tight little smile that said, ‘yeah right’ as the offender sidled up to me like a doting, well loved pet.

I fear our reputation is in tatters. Come soon, Rosie, come soon!

RosieCopyright © Lois Nicholls