Beloved television presenter Noni Hazlehurst wowed the audience with her speech last night when she was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame.
The 62-year-old was only the second woman ever to accept the award and took her chance to highlight that issue and a number of others while she was on stage.
While most people know Noni as the kind-hearted presenter on Play School and Better Homes and Gardens, she proved she isn’t afraid to deliver a healthy dose of the cold hard truth.
She spoke about how the media focussing on mostly ‘bad news’ stories only fuels people’s anxiety and fear about the state of the world and the future.
“I suspect that almost none of us here watching is immune from the growing incidence of depression, anxiety and suicide,” Hazlehurst said.
“We all know people who are struggling, we may be ourselves and too many of our kids are.
“We’re all living under a heavy and constant cloud of negativity … I think it’s because we’re surrounded by bad news and examples of our … human behaviour.
“So here is my pitch: I’d love a channel that features nothing but stories that inspire us and reassure us and our children that there are good things happening and good people in the world.
“I know it’s a lot to ask for. But at the very least, a show that tries to redress this overwhelming imbalance, that counters bad news with good that encourages optimism not pessimism, that restores our empathy and love for our fellow human beings and the Earth, that redefines reality, that heals our hearts.
“And by the way — I’m available.”
She also talked about her time on Play School and how much of an influence television has on young children.
“Once I got over my own self-consciousness and self-judgment and started to relax I realised [children were] far more demanding than any audience of adults. Three- and four-year-olds have the best bullshit detectors,” she said.
“For many decades Play School has been a safe haven for small children in an increasingly complex media landscape and world.
“I started to see a world through the preschoolers’ eyes to see how free and unafraid they are to just be. They haven’t yet been conditioned.
“But also how easily frightened and overwhelmed they are. How easily abused, and particularly how empathetic they are. No child is born a bigot.”
Her speech draw applause from the crowd and quickly appeared online where people praised her for her honesty.
Noni also mentioned the fact that she is only the second woman ever to recieve the Hall of Fame induction and highlighted the need for more diversity in Australian television – referring to the fact that The Project presenter Waleed Aly and SBS news reader Lee Lin Chin copped a lot of backlash over their nominations for the Gold Logie.
“The fact that I’m only the second woman to be given this honour is merely a reflection of the prevailing guard — as is the suggestion from some quarters that the eligibility of esteemed colleagues Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin going for gold is questionable,” she said.
Waleed went on to win the Gold Logie later in the night, making fun of the fact that people had tried to dismiss his nomination.
“Do not adjust your sets … there’s nothing wrong with the picture. I’m sure there’s an Instagram filter you can use to return things to normal,” he joked.
“This is happening, it’s true. Finally a male presenter on commercial TV has won the Gold Logie.”
Aly told the crowd about a man called Dimitri who encouraged him to take home the prize.
“He came up to me and through gritted teeth commanded me to claim this award tonight. This really, really mattered to him. This really meant something to him,” Aly said.
“It matters to them for a particular reason. That reason was brought home shudderingly not so long ago when someone who is in this room — and I’m not going to use the name they use in this industry — came up to me and said: ‘I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job.’ And it matters to people like that that I am here.
“To Dimitri and Mustafa and all the other people with unpronounceable names like Waleed, I want to say one thing: that is that I am incredibly humbled you would even think to invest in me that way.
“But I’m also incredibly saddened by it because the truth is you deserve more numerous and more worthy avatars than that.
“I don’t know if and when that’s going to happen but if tonight means anything … that is the Australian public, our audience, as far as they’re concerned there is absolutely no reason that can’t change.”