Graham Richardson

Graham was born on 27th September 1949 in Sydney, New South Wales to Catholic parents Frederick Richardson, a former New South Wales State Secretary of ‘Amalgamated Postal and Telecommunications Union’ and Peggy Richardson, office manager for the same union. Though being grown up as a catholic, he was highly influenced and inspired by the factional fights during the Labor Split. Graham was seriously injured in a severe car accident when he was 16 years old. The incident took place at Dolls Point and his father was driving the car. That car accident resulted in the removal of his spleen along with 200 stitches to his face.

That accident did not stop the young Graham Richardson from graduating from Sydney Technical High School. He was also part of Catholic Youth Organization of Young Labor which is a youth wing of Australia Labor Party. On the same year, he joined the Monterey branch of the same Party. Due to the sudden death of his mother, he dropped his ‘Bachelor of Laws’ degree which he took at Sydney University.

Graham Richardson slowly started to rise in the Labor party. He learned from the toughest powerbrokers of the Labor party. He progressed from branch organizer to the General Secretary of the New South Wales Labor Party within 5 years. At the age of 26, he was the youngest person to hold the General Secretary position. Daniel Casey, a senior member in Labor right-wing politics was a great influence in his life. Since he was highly efficient in his job, people describe him as ‘The Numbers Man’ and ‘King Maker’.

During the 1983 federal election, Graham Richardson polled the third highest quota making him the youngest ever senator elected to Parliament at the age of 33. He continued as a senator for 12 years from 1983 to 1994, getting re-elected in 1984, 1987 and 1993 elections. He held various positions such as ‘Minister for Health', ‘Minister for the Environment and the Arts', ‘Minister of Transport and Communications' and ‘Minister for Security' during his time in the parliament.

In 1994, he resigned from his Senator position and retired from Parliament. There were various reasons circulated for his resignations, however, he stated that he resigned because of his ill-health.

Post his retirement, he was involved with various TV networks as a political commentator. He is currently involved with Network Seven and Sky News Australia as a political commentator. He also wrote a memoir titled ‘Whatever it takes’ in 1994, which was published by Bantam Books.

Graham Richardson was involved in some tax allegations in 2006 citing he has a secret Swiss bank account. The issue with the Australian Taxation office was resolved after he paid an undisclosed sum of amount to the Tax office.

Graham Richardson married Cheryl Gardiner in 1973. The couple got a divorce later. He remarried Amanda Richardson. Since 1999, Graham Richardson was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Though 5 major tumors were successfully removed through 3 surgeries, his health is not stable. Radical surgery is suggested by his medical specialists to remove another tumor in his pelvic wall

Graham revealed his take on his painful illness and how it had taken a toll on him. Graham, in explaining the procedures he underwent in order to curb his cancer, claimed that the mere thought of being under the knife for 15 hours terrified him. This fear was because had been worrying about the treatment for a long time. Graham had previously had a 10-hour experience in theatre, a more reason to be frightened. With numerous attempts of chemotherapy, Graham’s pelvic wall state is deteriorating, and the doctors fear that it could worsen by getting bigger and, in the process, affect other organs.

Graham, quite a tough lad even from his mantra “Whatever it takes,” uttered in submission that he felt there was so much he could do. If there was a hospital he could have visited in New York that assured his treatment, Graham would have already done so. According to Graham, he was messed up.

In mid-2017, Graham, fortunately, made a positive step towards regaining health and was hospitalised at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. According to the doctors who were tending to Graham, his predicament was severe. Graham’s toughness was exemplified in theatre when he “died” three times. Professor Michael Solomon who was in charge said that Graham’s heart had a condition that made it suddenly stop and go flat-lined thrice. All of Graham’s “deaths” occurred when he was on the theatre table. The doctors encountered difficulty but in each occurrence were able to revive Graham’s heart by using a cardiac anaesthetic.

With such complications, Graham was bed ridden and on life support battling for his life. This was a very distressful time in Graham’s family – his wife and son. If Graham had opted not to go for surgery to remove the affected organs, the doctors had given him half a year at most to live. The experience terrified Graham, but by undergoing the surgery, he agreed that the entire process was worthwhile.

Life after the many surgeries has not attained normalcy since Graham now sleeps in his downstairs bedroom with his second wife Amanda tending to him. Amanda, a loving wife, did not see herself getting the full-time job of caring for her husband just five years after marriage. However, she helps Graham get dressed up and prepares meals for him. After the many surgeries, the doctors removed Graham’s rectum, bowel, bladder, tail bone and prostrate. Some of the complications that Graham experiences in his daily life include bleeding from surgical wounds.

Despite going through all this, Graham has been able to report back to work. The Australian is a member of social media platforms, among them Twitter @SkyNewsRicho and on Instagram @RichardFamily. On these sites, Graham expresses himself in relation to all aspects of life but mostly politics. Discussing on political affairs in his homeland, Australia. On social media, Graham has a fan base and on Twitter alone, he has a following of close to 10,000 and having put across over 2,000 tweets to the public.

Last Modified: Apr 7, 2020

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