Soul cleansing


There are three things that always happen on January 1st.

One is the arrival of a sensational new diet plan that no intelligent woman will touch, because it bans alcohol. The second is an avalanche of horoscopes (I may be partly responsible for this). And thirdly, there will be something about cricket. I believe it’s quite popular.

You hardly ever read the New Year story that should matter the most. And I hate to say it, but Australia doesn’t need to get a hotter body.

It needs a big fat soul detox.

I’m not talking a $100 appointment with a New Age wanker with a flashy website, either. Believe me, if you’re an astrologer you’re surrounded by them.

A  soul detox is actually free. And it’s very simple. It’s literally what’s good for the soul.

You don’t need to sit there chanting. Just start getting your head around the idea of giving back. And even if you already give back, you wonderful woman, then do more.  You’re probably exactly the kind of woman who can!

If you’re reading this, on The Hoopla, then you have a computer.

And if you’re Australian and own a computer then you’re richer than anyone else on the planet. I would guess you also have a Medicare card, and you could wander down the market any time and get a discount bag of apples for $2. That’s rich, to a woman in Afghanistan.

Now, nobody wants to be a charity bore, but there are some embarrassing facts about being Australian that you need to know…

According to Dick Smith, more than 2000 people in this country earn over $1 million a year but claim no tax deductions for charity whatsoever? In other words, unless they have bad accountants, they’re just not giving anything at all.

For the last 10 years I have been involved in a series of books called Girls’ Night In and Kids’ Night In (with Wendy Harmer among others) in aid of the charity War Child.

So far we’ve made AUD$3 million together, and had everyone from J.K.Rowling to Stella McCartney involved.

Yet, echoing Dick Smith, I feel like naming and shaming those who didn’t help. Because there were an awful lot of them, out there in famous-person land.

You know those celebrities whose faces look slightly different, every time you see them? Or those famous bodies which are forever in tiny shorts? Well, they don’t do charity. They’re too busy being gorgeous, darling. Detoxing.  I know, because I used to write begging e-mails to their agents and managers. Nobody ever wrote back.

It is really easy to be gorgeous. Even fabulous.  To drop a dress size and have skin that doesn’t need concealer.

Every woman knows how to do this. You were researching it in Dolly magazine when you were 15 years old. Enough already with personal trainers and seaweed supplements. Eat less. Move more. Do fish and vegetables. And water. The end.

The best way to lose weight, though, is to be busy and happy. Or in love.

With my hand on my heart I can tell you that being involved with War Child, and the Girls’ Night In and Kids’ Night In series, has made me busier and happier than anything else in the world.

And frequently found me helplessly in love (10 years of being surrounded by handsome, heroic aid workers will do that to you).

When you’re on the phone to East Timor juggling giant shipments of Elle Macpherson’s donated Bendon underwear to desperate women, believe me, the last thing you feel like doing is eating.

So onwards to 2012. Anyone care to join me in a big fat soul detox?

So, the Hoopla wants to know: How do you spend your charity dollar? Please give them a big, fat plug here:


Australia, the great dummy spit

Get up, stand up

The future’s in good hands

*Jessica Adams is one of the country’s best-known and beloved astrologers. She is a graduate from the University of Tasmania with a degree in Ancient Civilisations, Religious Studies and Philosophy. Jessica has worked on many well-known magazines and newspapers including Elle, New Woman and The Daily Telegraph.  You can follow her on Twitter @jessicaadams or visit her website.




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  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Today I got my Amex bill- on there with the first world luxuries like Foxtel and Telstra was $258 for my two World Vision sponsorships. We have had these for years now and we are also are happy to donate to various causes as we find them. More importantly, my husband is a full time volunteer. Our house is charitable one and I hope I’m teaching my kids that it’s truly important to be part of the local and global community.
    It’s nothing heroic, just the way it should be.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    We donate monthly to APHEDA Union Aid Abroad who work with communities in many developing countries and Oxfam. Both charities do extraordinary work.

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Margi Macdonald

    Jessica, I’m so glad you said it!
    Wendy and The Hoopla team, I’m glad we can plug our favourites. Thank-you!

    About 18 months ago, I chanced upon the very new, very fresh work of – an online portal based in Brisbane. The natural disasters here in Qld 2011 catapulted GIVIT into a huge role in the recovery. I became a volunteer in the GIVIT office during that time.

    SInce then, GIVIT has continued to help communities and individuals with post-flood recovery needs. Most importantly, GIVIT has continued its core work of helping under-resourced community groups and other charities and agencies to assist the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised in our communities.

    So often we understand urgent and desperate needs of people in far away lands, but truly, hidden away where the cameras and journalists never go, there is identical need here in our Aussie back yards. Daily, we are often reduced to tears behind the scenes at GIVIT, as we hear story after story of terrible struggle, loss and crisis.

    I’m so impressed with GIVIT, I donate 8-12 hours/week of my expertise to this beaut charity and social enterprise.

    Hoopla readers might like to visit and see how it works. It’s perfect if you have some Christmas presents you’d like to re-gift!

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Julie-Anne Rogers

    I have been a Cancer Council committee member for almost 8yrs now and our Mingara Relay for Life is now the second largest fundraiser in NSW. This year our event raised $320k! I have received WAY more in return than I have given. So many people thank me and tell me their stories that I come away from the event each year physically and emotionally exhausted but grinning from ear to ear. And don’t anyone ever tell me that you don’t have the time!!! No-one has enough time in this busy world. You have to make enough time. I am a single mum with a full-time job and a part-time internet business but I can make the time – so can you.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    A first world problem is which worthy charities to give to, thank you for raising it! We donate to WSPA, Oxfam, our church (St. Judes Carlton), Agape home in Thailand (sponsoring a girl), Fernlea House ( in Emerald (I also volunteer with them) and support a friend working in SE Asia via Interserve ( Would love to do more.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    Each year MobileMuster gives to people in need through Oxfam’s Unwrapped Program. Where for every couple of handsets recycled between November and January we buy a chicken or duck.

    So that means that not only the mobile handset manufacturers and carriers who fund MobileMuster are giving, but it means everyone else can also give too a worthy cause like Oxfam by simply recycling their old mobiles phones with MobileMuster.

    This year for every two handsets recycled with MobileMuster we will buy a chicken through the Oxfam Unwrapped program to go to a family in Laos. Old phones, more chickens.

    This is paid for by the handset manufacturers and carriers who fund MobileMuster by paying a levy on each new handset they ship into Australia – and not through trading in second hand mobiles – as MobileMuster is a not for profit program that recycles all old mobiles and accessories, rather then dumping them into developing country markets. – old phones, more chickens

    • Reply January 3, 2012

      Sarah B

      Thank You Rose, I now know what to do with all the old mobiles that have been piling up in the bottom drawer

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    I provide a monthly direct debit donation to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. This organisation is doing some incredibly important work in conserving Australia’s natural habitat and unique wildlife. I had the privilege of visting their Mornington Sanctuary in the Kimberely region of WA in 2011 and was so pleased to be able to experience their work first hand and know that I am making a small, but important contribution to the effort. Without our beautiful wild places, animals and plants, we have no soul. A regular monthly deduction is a great way to donate. You don’t miss it at all!

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Toni Tapp Coutts

    It is certainly a sad society we live in when we can find $12milliion for a new state of the art Police Station in a remote indigenous community (NT) but there are still 20 people living in the house next door to the station.
    We can build $10 million Water Parks but cant afford a couple of new dialysis units in remote areas, and then spend millions keeping those people alive in towns with no family support etc. The Governments do not set good examples or encourage Australians to consider and contribute to the less well off in our community.
    I raised $95,000 two weeks ago at an auction for my 20 year old niece to attend Project Walk in America. Just 250 people attended the auction and they spent up big and paid outrageous amounts for items such as a GHD Hairdryer for $1,800 ‘to help Emily’s dream come true’. People I did not know walked up to me in the street and gave me $20 and $50. The generosity of some people is overwhelming – but there are also many who can afford it do not contribute in anyway.
    I believe and have taught my children that it is our duty to leave our community a better place that when we came into it.
    To that end I am now madly planning the first ever Australia Day Charity Ball in Katherine NT to raise funds for a 10 year Aborignal girl who fell off a Show ride in 2011 and is still having physio/ skin grafts etc. I am blessed that I have a gift to contribute, to be able to create events to raise funds for the less fortunate in our town. May the Goddesses Bless you and Happy New Year to one and all.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    My partner Alan and I support the Cambodian Children’s Trust through monthly direct debit. It was founded by young Sydney woman Tara Winkler to care for abused and neglected orphans in the country’s Battambang area. We also sponsor a teacher and a student at the School of St Jude in Tanzania which was built and is run by human dynamo Gemma Sisia (nee Rice) from Armidale.

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Jenny E.

    I have a big list of people our family supports.
    Have been a world vision sponsor for 20 years, also support Amnesty International, Australian Conservation Foundation, Act for Peace = The Christmas bowl.
    Locally the Cancer Council do a great job to promote services and research and support. Do lots of their campaigns.
    The Leprosy Mission also needs support ongoing.
    The Salvo’s and local charities Aldinga Christian Care & support.
    The arthritis foundation and kids flix.
    MIFSA – Mental Illness Foundation.
    plus any Save the Children Op shop is a winner.
    Giving has a way of giving back.
    Aussies are generous in nature – so I cannot understand the top end of town not giving.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    Many corporates have “workplace giving” programs enabling staff to donate automatically from their salary, in pre-tax dollars, to a charity or charities of their choice from an preset list . Often these corporates then match each of the staff donations to the nominated charity / charities, so in effect you’re responsible for giving double the amount you’ve specified.

    In the spirit of charity, perhaps some of these high-earners are donating in this or other ways that might not be specified on their tax returns.

    I think we need to be careful of using a single source of truth, when it might not tell the full story.

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Sue Jefferies

    Our Kris Kringle @ work is a donation to Cancer Research @ Westmead. My regular charities are Amnesty and their variety of special projects and Australian Tibet Counci, Oxfam & a variety of others depending on the cause. We should all be grateful for what we have so it is implicit to give to others who are not as lucky.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    Our significant donations have been setup as automatic monthly debits from our cc. Currently these are a World Vision sponsorship, continuous for 17+ years, the RSCPA, and the Exodus Foundation, who do marvelous work with the homeless and those in need. Through the years this has also included Greenpeace for 13+ years and Oxfam for 3+ years.

    Additionally, as our son was growing up, from a very young age, we also used to have a toy cleanout towards the end of each year. He would often do the first cut and we would then go through them together to check and, where necessary, clean them. All unbroken, complete, toys were offered to a local women and childrens refuge – and they always took them. This was really effective with our lad and he’d remind us that it was nearly time to do “the toy run” (as it was affectionately known).

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    We have been supporting Northcott Disability Services in Sydney for a number of years. There are many people who could give to charities but don’t. However, I wonder where Dick Smith gets his information that 2000 Australians earning 1 million a year don’t claim any tax deduction for charity giving??? Surely that is a person’s private information and not out there for all to see??
    Unfortunately many people just don’t seem to care enough to give to others on a regular basis.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    Firstly, I would like to advise that I met my husband whilst we were both volunteering.

    Secondly, my household donates to various organisations. However, over a year ago, we started donating some care packages to some deployed ADF personnel.

    Yes, it might be stressful for some considering the amount of items that cannot be sent (cross reference packaging,safety, etc;). However, there is so much scope to include items, and it can be fun. Consider how much, some packets of confectionary, a pack of playing cards, and a stationery pack, and a packaging box to send it actually costs. Then think of the person receiving that at the other end – who is away from Australia and loved ones.

    Also, if it is sent within Australia correctly to an applicable Australian Defence Force Post Office, and weighs under 2 kg, the postage might be at no charge.

  • Reply January 3, 2012

    Caroline Roessler

    We sponsor three kids through World Vision and we’ve been doing that for more than 10 years. We always give to Red Cross, especially during times of natural disaster. My partner, Donna, also volunteered for Meals on Wheels for a few months while we lived in Sydney… she says it’s one of the most satisfying ‘jobs’ she’s ever had. We both like to be quite generous when it comes to charity because we consider ourselves so very lucky to have the life we have.

  • Reply January 3, 2012


    Uh! Oh! I am going to be the only one out on a limb here. Frankly, this topic irritates me except for Dick Smith yay! He is doing a great job of going after people/companies that he thinks should give more and what is more, he should know. I think he has a better idea on this subject than most of us, after all he is a serious philanthropist and moves in the circles at the Big End of Town, which most of us do not. Seriously, how do you, or I, know the Big End of Town isn’t donating. Have you seen their bank statements, Amex statements, taxation information? No you have not and neither have I. Australia doesn’t need a Soul Detox. What a ludicrous, and frankly disrespectful assumption to make. Australia is without doubt, THE most generous country in the world. We are like parents who sacrifice everything for their children. We are the caregivers to the rest of the world. My previous employer was right behind the staff when committing to raising money. Cancer morning teas, passing the hat around for a gold coin on Genes for Jeans Day, organising the Starlight Foundation to set up in the foyer of our building for Star Day, and much, much more. One of our employees used to organise the mobile muster. Our company used to donate all our preloved computers to 2 lovely gents who would give them an overhaul and then donate them to other charitable organisations and nursing homes. No blowing of trumpets there. For a law firm it was one thing they did do right. Why do you feel the need to tell us who you gave to and how much? Many large corporations gather funds in a variety of ways to support the community. When I first opened my electricity account with Ergon Energy they asked me if I would be happy to have an additional $112.98 added to my bill over the 12 month period which covered everyone in the Queensland community for ambulance services. I thought that was a very good initiative for the benefit of the community and one I was more than happy to support. This has now stopped as the Queensland government now provides free ambulance cover for all Queenslanders anywhere in Australia. I do give when I can and would give much more but on the aged pension I am struggling to look after myself let alone anyone else. That is not a whinge, it is a fact of life. I have a long list of institutions also that are deserving of my financial assistance and should I ever win Lotto they will get it. But I won’t be trumpeting it on The Hoopla or through any other medium. I believe in going about this type of thing in a quiet manner. “According to Dick Smith, more than 2000 people in this country earn over $1 million a year but claim no tax deductions for charity whatsoever? In other words, unless they have bad accountants, they’re just not giving anything at all.” Excuse me gorgeous man, but you and Jessica know this – how? I don’t claim any donations on my tax return and the fact that donations ARE tax deductible really annoys me. What a joke! Call me naive, call me stupid, but don’t we give because we want to, not because we know we can recoup some of it when 30 June comes around. Word of advice here. Writing begging emails to people asking for donations or financial support is not the way to go. No, they don’t write back. Why? Because it is unprofessional. Unless you have the private telephone number of someone like Gail Kelly or Sir Richard Branson, find another way.

  • Reply January 9, 2012

    Virginia Gordon

    I make all my donations as monthly direct debits – I know steady reliable guaranteed income for general purposes, not directed to particular projects enables charities to pay for people to do the work – the sort of infrastructure costs others don’t fund. Christmas has been a great time to see how various charities engage with their supporters. Those that do it well astound me with their seasonal wishes and engagement. If they take that time for donors, you know how focused they are on recipients – it’s often a useful measure. 1) Anglicare stands out always on information updates on how they spend the modest dollars I donate 2) International Womens Development Agency does extraordinary work to empower women in countries in this region, tackling incredibly difficult issues of abuse, poverty as well as those “empowering” activities that help strengthen communities themselves – amazing organisation. 3) Medicins Sans Frontieres – their fearless to go where few do in times of absolute emergency 4) Amnesty International – who speak up when noone else does – not only do I donate but I sign up for the Urgent updates – where they email you to write/email immediately to add pressure on the most worrying of cases 5) Oxfam – love their mobile muster mentioned above, as well as their great Christmas gifts 6) Smith Family – their amazing Education program that helps poor Aussie families get their kids to school with breakfasts, books, uniforms 7) Refugee Council of Australia – so credible and hardworking, with local communities of refugees as well as strong continuous engagement with government – they don’t seek the spotlight which is why they are effective.

    The arts, whilst not a charity, I passionately believe are impt to consider in your giving program. Mine include the Australian Youth Orchestra’s International Tour Fund – to enable the most talented of our musicians to realise their dreams and the Sydney Festival, an exceptional organisation who spoil their donors like few arts orgs do – I had the profound priviledge of being a teeny donor to their groundbreaking production I Am Eora which brings to the stage a significant number of indigenous talents we should see more of.

    Giving is something everyone can afford to do who is reading this website. For the cost of two coffees a week you can make a powerful difference. Direct debit means you commit and don’t waver.

    It’s good to learn a little more about other people’s giving considerations – the new year is a time where we need to consider can we do more.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Linda Jaivin

    You don’t need to look abroad to sponsor a child – The Smith Family’s Learning for Life helps disadvantaged children right here in Australia with mentoring, purchase of textbooks and sports gear, school trips and so on. You can start with a child from their first year of primary, as I have, and take them all the way through (fingers crossed) HSC. That’s my big one. I make other smaller donations to a range of charities. There are several others I’d like to mention as they haven’t seemed to come up here. One is the Adelaide-based Australian Association for Refugees, which does a lot of great work (see and with which I’m involved through the Circle of Friends program as convenor of Circle of Friends 37. (If you earmark your donation for CF37, I’ll be able to direct the funds to where I think they’re most needed – among other things, CF37 helps to look after an older man, a former Villawood detainee who has never quite recovered from the experience and sometimes has trouble with electricity and other bills. But all donations to the ARA – general or to specific Circle of Friends – are much appreciated). Two others worth mentioning are the Indigenous Literacy Foundation ( and Youth Express and other programs run by the Belvoir Street Theatre for regional, disadvantaged and other young people who can benefit from access to and participation in theatre.

  • Reply January 25, 2012

    Rosie Lee

    Thanks for those websites Linda. Excellent pointers to some really needy areas in our own backyard! Housing and access to adequate/ appropriate healthcare is still woefully inadequate for aboriginal people . The Fred Hollows Foundation also works with aboriginal communities to help improve their health and wellbeing.

  • Reply June 6, 2012


    Hmm, the reports I’ve seen (though not within the last two years) actually say we are one of the LEAST generous first world countries…

    I think this is an awesome way not to ‘blow a trumpet’ but to shed light on some lesser known charities.

    I always donate to legacy, because they really helped my gran out after her husband passed away. I also support as they helpl struggling families to provide healthy school lunches, pay for school fees and buy uniforms. A great, little heard of charity 🙂
    Finally, the Grow foundation sponsors families with disabled kids to travel to the IAHP in Philly, to attend training to envelop physical and mental skills to allow them to reach full potential in life. You can read about that one at

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