Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 08, 2023



Brumfitt, Ms T.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (16:24): I move:

That this council—

1. Congratulates Taryn Brumfitt, body image activist, director, writer and speaker on her 2023 Australian of the Year award;

2. Highlights the outstanding contribution Taryn has made to educating young people and their parents around the world to foster body positivity; and

3. Recognises the impact that body image has and how it can influence how we engage with our world.

From Adelaide to the world, Taryn Brumfitt's mission to create meaningful, long-lasting change has seen her spread her message of body positivity through the power of speeches, books and films. But at home in Adelaide, Taryn is a mum of four whose mission is to unlearn the behaviour of people hating their bodies. Her life's work is to end the body hate epidemic and inspire people to embrace their bodies. Through the Body Image Movement she does just that, by teaching people to appreciate their bodies.

An Unley High School alumni, she has been taking on speaking engagements, collecting awards and accolades around the world from Adelaide as she inspires people through her books and films to join her movement, inspiring others to embrace themselves. Her 2016 documentary, Embrace,tackled the serious issue of women's body loathing and her own path to body acceptance. The documentary, available on Netflix, has been seen by millions across the world. Her recent documentary, Embrace Kids, aims to teach young people to move, nourish and respect their bodies.

Along with Dr Zali Yager, Taryn has also co-founded the Embrace Hub, which is filled with free evidence-based body image resources for kids, parents and teachers, recognising that parents and teachers have a great influence and can be a positive influence on the lives of young people, sometimes before these issues arise. Our body image is formed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs we have about our bodies and the way we look. Simply put, this is how we see the world around us.

Everybody is affected by body image and how it evolves in a lifetime. Body image is constantly acknowledged by Mission Australia's survey of young people as a top three issue of personal concern. The Butterfly Foundation found that 30 per cent of young people say that they are extremely or very concerned about their body image. The Butterfly Foundation is a national charity for all Australians impacted by eating disorders and body image issues and supports their families, friends and communities. According to the Butterfly Foundation, more than one million Australians are living with eating disorders and less than a quarter of those receive any treatment or support.

We live in a world that can often be obsessed with unrealistic standards of beauty and an unhealthy obsession over diet culture. Some of the modern-day extremes on social media only serve to exacerbate this. This can lead to a harmful effect on how a person engages with their world, as it influences how they see themselves. Negative body image can also lead to many other disorders. My hope is that, while Taryn is Australian of the Year for 2023, even more people will listen to her message and embrace their bodies. As Taryn says:

We know that kids in adolescence who appreciate their bodies are more likely to look after themselves. We've got to get this right for our kids.

This winner of Australian of the Year 2023 continues the extraordinary achievements of South Australians on the national stage. Since 2019, there have been three winners of Australian of the Year from South Australia. In 2019, Dr Richard Harris shared it with Craig Challen from WA for their extraordinary efforts in the Thai cave rescue. Dr James Muecke, an eye surgeon and founder of Sight for All, who now serves as South Australia's Lieutenant-Governor, won in 2020. Taryn joins the esteemed company of those great South Australians to win Australian of the Year and I wish her all the best for her continued mission. I commend my motion.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.