While organisations and non-profits are often the leaders in the fight to end extreme poverty, calls for a more equitable world also come from some of society's most famous faces. Here in Australia, influencers, authors, comedians and some of the nation’s most beloved television stars have long lent their voices to various causes working for the greater good.
Below, we’ve compiled some of Australia’s most well-known personalities who are using their influence to end Indigenous inequality, overcome vaccine hesitancy, end discrimination and bigotry and promote prosperity around the world.
1. Marlee Silva
Silva, a Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman based in Sydney, is the founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas, a podcast and social media initiative that aims to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Last year, Silva released Tiddas 4 Tiddas, the book, which shares the experiences and stories of Indigenous women. The Indigenous activist continues to speak up about diversity, inclusion, gender inequality and the power of vaccines.
Throughout Australia, socio-economic inequality persists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women.
Just under 20% of Indigenous Australians live in poverty, with Indigenous women most commonly impacted by inequality within maternal care. The infant mortality rate for Indigenous women is around double that of non-Indigenous women. In remote areas, the inequality rate triples.
2. Felicity Harley
Just over a month after Harley’s son was born he was rushed to hospital with a combination of enterovirus meningitis and bacterial meningitis/meningococcal B — a vaccine preventable disease. Now, years later, Harley has become one of Australia’s most well-known faces promoting the safety and importance of vaccines. The podcast host and author has this year joined events, addressed media and used her Twitter account to call for an up-take in COVID-19 vaccines among Australians.
3. Andrew Rochford
Rochford is one of Australia’s most popular media personalities, with recurring roles on hit TV shows The Block, The Project and former Nine Network’s program, Waiting Room. With a bachelor's degree in medical science from the University of Sydney, Rochfield knows first-hand the importance of vaccines as a public good.
Since COVID-19 first appeared on Australian shores, Rochford has spoken on radio, television and online about dispelling COVID-19 myths, the importance of trusting medical professionals and why ensuring vaccines are shared equitably is vital to ending the epidemic for all.
4. Charlie Pickering
Television presenter, author, producer and one of the nation’s most loved comedians, Pickering has long been an advocate for increasing Australia’s aid budget. Australia's aid budget — the money used to fight extreme poverty, enhance stability and promote prosperity around the world — is at its least generous level in history. Australia has a moral duty to use foreign aid to help support those living in extreme poverty, Pickering once said, before explaining the reason “cutting aid is so easy is because the people it affects don't have a voice.”
5. Abbie Chatfield
Influencer and former-Bachelor contestant Chatfield has just under 300,000 followers on Instagram. The 26-year-old It’s A Lot podcast host took to Instagram stories after receiving her AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this year, when hesitancy rates around AstraZeneca were high, to chronicle her vaccination journey.
“I just wanted to get [vaccinated] for my own protection and also to help the community,” she told her followers, before explaining that those with an online presence have a duty of care to speak out about the vaccine. “The reason why young women are anti-vaxxers is because of influencers, and the influence they have on young people. I think young people particularly are very easily convinced to do whatever the favourite influencer is doing.”
6. Adam Liaw
Liaw is a Masterchef Australia winner, chef, author and television personality who has consistently used his voice to champion those in need. As an ambassador for the Campaign for Australian Aid, Liaw believes “Australian aid is something that’s really important for us as a country.” Liaw has long pointed out that while seemingly small declines to Australia’s aid budget may seem inconsequential, real people and communities are impacted each time Australia removes funds for tackling gender inequality, poverty and sanitation.