Media Release

4 December 2006


Fourteen Australian luminaries lend support to Giving Week: December 4-10, 2006

FOURTEEN well-known Australian luminaries have contributed personal items for an eBay auction designed to highlight the importance of supporting the community during Australian Giving Week from December 4-10.

2007 Senior Australian of the Year for Victoria and well-known community supporter and philanthropist, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE, was the first to put up her hand for Giving Week, donating a set of antique engraved silver sugar tongs to be auctioned for the benefit of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Cranbourne.

Other donors are leading scientist Sir Gustav Nossal, Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett, author Bryce Courtenay, former ACCC Chair Allan Fels, celebrity chef Gabriel Gate, food author Stephanie Alexander, Lonely Planet founder Maureen Wheeler, Home and Away star Bobby Morley, businesswoman Janet Homes à Court, former Olympian Ron Clarke, AFL coaching legend Kevin Sheedy, and radio personality Matt Tilley. Donors have each elected a community group they feel deserves community support to be beneficiary of the proceeds of their auction items.

Among the items going under the hammer through the Giving Week auction - posted at - are personally signed books, a Home and Away script (signed by all the cast), half a dozen bottles of Vasse Felix wine, sports memorabilia, a signed "Gotcha Calls" CD, a glass sculpture, and more.

The items are being auctioned on eBay as part of Australian Giving Week, which is being held around the country from December 4-10 to focus attention on the many ways that individuals, families and businesses can make a difference to the community in the lead-up to Christmas and beyond.

Other activities organised as part of the event, which is an initiative of community support organisation and is supported by Westpac, include:

  • Launch of a new website at which highlights how individuals, businesses and MPs can take part in Giving Week and give more to the community at Christmas and beyond
  • Promotion of the secure online donations service offered through the Australian Giving Centre, which currently lists almost 900 appeals and has already collected more than $5 million in online donations for Australian community groups
  • Distribution of a list of "50 Ways for Individuals to Give to the Community this Christmas", and a corresponding list for businesses
  • Launch of Australia's first ever Australian Giving Card - the card that keeps on giving by ensuring $2 from each purchase is handed on to a community group
CEO of Dr Rhonda Galbally AO said: "These 14 great Australian leaders have been incredibly generous and we hope the community will as well by making a bid on one of the great items up for auction or by giving to their community in some other way."

Westpac Group Executive Mike Pratt said: "Australian Giving Week is about providing ideas and encouraging people to connect with community groups in line with Westpac's enduring strategy of community involvement that is based on tradition while innovative in approach."

More information about the Giving Week Auction and Australian Giving Week can be downloaded via the Media section at, or contact Rhonda Galbally on (03) 9320 6809, 0419 399 655, or email to