Bernardi Backlash Gets Dollars Rolling In

In a fortuitous twist of fate, Senator Cory Bernardi’s condemnation of a school’s fundraising event led to an influx of donations more than 200 times its original goal.

Do It In a Dress

For the past six years the Do It In A Dress campaign has been run by OneGirl, an Australian charity. When students at Craigburn Primary School in South Australia learned how many young girls in African countries like Uganda and Sierra Leone don’t have access to education, they decided to organise the fundraiser in aid of the campaign as part of their Casual Day celebration at the end of the third term. The event gave students the opportunity to make a donation to the cause, and in return get to wear their casual clothes to school.

Irate Tweet Gains Backlash

Josh Thomas (Australian comedian)

Josh Thomas – donated US$2,000 to the cause


What was meant to be a simple fundraiser with a humble goal of raising US$900 turned into a political fiasco when the Australian Conservatives Leader, Senator Bernardi made an outraged tweet about the initiative. The senator apparently took offense to the idea of boys at the school being encouraged to wear a dress to raise money for the charity, and tweeted, “This gender morphing is really getting absurd”. His post gained instant backlash and donations started coming in at force. Well-known Australian comedian Josh Thomas donated US$2,000 to the cause, and that was just the start of a tremendously successful campaign that raised funds of over US$200,000 in under 48 hours – a far cry from the modest US$900 target.

An Overwhelming Response

According to Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, Senator Bernardi should have checked the facts before condemning a program that is raising money for African girls to get an education. Susan Close, the South Australian Education Minister suggested that Senator Berdardi apologises, and also give a donation to the cause.