Meshel Laurie talks about her Campaign for sex abuse victims.
Meshel Laurie is co-host of ARN’s KIIS Melbourne breakfast show has never been one to shy away from tackling the difficult subjects. Meshel is the organiser behind the GoFundMe campaign to raise money to send Ballarat child sex abuse survivors to Rome to see Cardinal Pell give evidence at the commission – Brad March talked to Meshel about the campaign.
Firstly, how is the new show with Matt going on KIIS 101.1?
Well it certainly feels good. It’s a brilliant, enthusiastic team with great management so I feel very supported. I’m pushing myself harder than ever, but loving every minute of it.
We understand that you are the organiser of the GoFundMe campaign to send child sex abuse survivors to Rome to see Cardinal Pell give evidence?
Well yes, I guess I am. It’s my name on the GoFundMe account.
How and why did that come about?
I happened to be in Ballarat last weekend, chasing leads for my podcast The Nitty Gritty Committee. I found myself on the phone with one of the survivors who told me that they were trying to figure out how to crowd fund to get to Rome and I offered to help. Next thing I knew I had started a GoFundMe campaign. I was terrified of failing those people but incredibly, it caught on. It’s been, dare I say, a miracle!
An issue that is close to your heart?
Honestly, it’s been close to my friend Gorgi Coughlin’s heart because she lives in Ballarat. She and I work together on The Project every Friday night and she’s spoken to me many times about heartbreaking conversations she’s had with survivors. She made it very real and immediate for me.
Are you covering the issue on air at KIIS?
Yes we are. I’ve never shied away from difficult issues on air and I’ve been thrilled to discover that Matt is a man after my own heart in that regard. And many others!
You are actively using your social media streams to promote the cause?
I am. I’ve always seen my socials as a tool for dissemination of information, and for offering support to important ideas. I was house-bound with baby twins during the Brisbane floods, but was able to connect people in need with people who could help them through Twitter. I learnt a lot about what social media can do at that time, but I’m still in awe of what it’s done in the last couple of days.
I’m very unsuccessful at getting free stuff through my socials though. I really need to work on that.
Who are some of your main supporters?
I saw a big rise in donations within minutes of Lisa Wilkinson’s tweet in support of the campaign. I guess she has rich, generous fans. Hardly surprising really. Stunning woman!
Obviously Tim Minchin’s support took it next level. I’ve been having a chuckle today at the cool publications that are suddenly interested. Not so much when it was just the two mums from The Project attached!
Bless him and his hipster fans for getting extra exposure and dollars for survivors.
Was it easy to get fellow talent to support the cause?
I never tried. It was really just about Gorgi and I activating our social media networks and then others joined out of the goodness of their hearts. I’m sure if we’d actually planned any of this we’d have approached people for support but it just happened too fast for that.
They have raised far more than the $55k that they need to raise, so a lot of people obviously behind you on this ?
Almost 3000 donors last time I checked.
Where’s the fund raising up to?
Well it’s still growing quickly, but it was around $120K last time I hit refresh.
How did Tim Minchin get on board and how did the song come about?
I really don’t know. I’ve known Tim for a long time, I know he’s been passionate about this issue for ages, but I think he pulled the song together pretty quickly too. The first I knew about was when someone told me he pledged the proceeds from the song to our GoFundMe campaign.
I chatted with him this morning though and we’ll catch up in a couple of weeks when he’s back in Melbourne for the opening of Matilda.
Thanks for your effort on this one Meshel, its a worthy cause and one which a lot of people will be watching very closely.
You can show your support and donate Send Ballarat Survivors To Rome via the GoFundMe campaign here.
Brad March is Managing Director of Connected Management – www.weareconnected.com.au. He is Director of Marchmedia, a Director of Radio Today, and is a former CEO and Group Programmer of Austereo and ARN.
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