What do a dozen sports stars, politicians, businessmen and entertainers have in common? They’re standing up to bullies.
A coalition of well-known Australians have thrown their support behind a new anti-bullying campaign created by anti-bullying organisation Underdogs. Thecampaign aims to raise awareness of bullying and remind Australians that standing up to bullies is everyone’s responsibility.
Underdogs’ anti-bullying ambassadors include rugby league commentator Phil Gould, former cricketer Nathan Bracken and his wife Hayley, Australian wicket keeper BradHaddin, hot new singing sensation Elen Levon, and politician-turned charity CEO Reba Meagher.
The campaign also has the support of the NSW Government.
Underdogs is the brain child of Christian Marchegiani, an NRL/AFL boxing trainer. He was bullied for being overweight and Italian when he was a teenager, and knows how the effects of bullying can damage lives.
“Too many people turn a blind eye when they see bullies, and don’t want to get involved,” he says. “A quick word of support for the victim can make an enormous difference.”
Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli says “Christian’s story and his work to combat bullying are truly inspiring but whole-of-community solutions are required because it is everyone’s responsibility to stop bullying”.
Former NSW minister Reba Meagher joined the campaign to raise awareness for victims of bullying in the home. “An aggressive, domineering partner, parent of sibling can turn a home into a living hell from which escape can seem impossible,” she says. “We all have a responsibility to help free victims of domestic bullying.”
Mario Fenech wants to help stop bullying of people from different cultural backgrounds – a lesson he learned from personal experience. “Growing up in Australia in the 70’s with a name like Mario was like having a tattoo on my forehead reading ‘please bully’,” says Mario.
Other ambassadors include Penrith Panthers player Sandor Earl, CEO of LivingSocial Colin Fabig, netballer Susan Pratley, Fat Pizza comedians Tahir Bilgic and Rob Shehadie.
They will take their message to schools, workplaces and community organisations. A community service television commercial will launch on FTA & Pay TV this Tuesday.