The Wheeler Centre Gala 2014: 20 Questions

The Wheeler Centre Gala 2014: 20 Questions

If you had to choose, would you prefer non-fiction or fiction? Happy endings or sad ones? Are you a summer person or a winter person? Do you believe in individuality or community? Gratification or anticipation? Would you rather outlive your partner or be outlived? Which is worse: war or famine? Drowning at sea or indefinite detention?

These seemingly stark questions tell us things about who we are, what we value, and who we want to be.

2014’s Wheeler Centre Gala was a twisted referendum on 20 divisive questions. On Saturday 8 February, we took to the streets of Melbourne with four city polling booths (and a website, for those playing at home) to find out what you thought about ideas big and small, the fundamental and the trivial.

At the end of the day, we threw this old-fashioned election party to analyse the results and what they tell us about ourselves. Joining us all in the tally room (Melbourne Town Hall) were experienced commentators George Negus, Sophie Black, Bernard Salt and Ray Martin. Our host - as voted by the audience on the night - was Sally Warhaft.

Election blog

See the results and more at


Portrait of Ray Martin

Ray Martin

Ray Martin is a journalist and television presenter who has reported for and/or presented some of TV’s highest-profile current affairs and variety shows of recent decades.

Portrait of Sophie Black

Sophie Black

Sophie Black is head of publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the national to writers scheme The Next Chapter, the multi-award-winning podcast, The Messenger, and the ABC RN program, Talkfest. Previously she was editor-in-chief at Private Media, where she headed up titles such as Crikey, Women’s Agenda, Daily Review and SmartCompany. In 2013, she delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as Director. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and the human rights publication Right Now.

Portrait of Bernard Salt

Bernard Salt

Bernard Salt is one of Australia’s leading social commentators. He heads The Demographics Group which provides specialist advice on demographic, consumer and social trends for business. Prior to that Bernard founded KPMG Demographics. He is perhaps best known for identifying and tagging new tribes and social behaviours such as the ‘Seachange Shift’, the ‘Man Drought’, and the ‘Goats Cheese Curtain’.  He was also responsible for popularising smashed avocados globally. 

Portrait of George Negus

George Negus

George Negus has written, directed and presented Australian commercial and public television current affairs since 1975 – with a special passion for international affairs and Australia’s place in the world.

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