Politician tried to bully school over charity ‘wear a dress day’, but it majorly backfired

The leader of Australia’s Conservative party tried to attack a school for inviting kids to wear fancy dress for a charity day – but it didn’t have the result he expected.

Senator Cory Bernardi, the leader of the Australian Conservatives, took to Twitter to attack Craigburn Primary School in Flagstaff Hill, South Australia, over its charity fundraiser day.

Student leaders at the school decided to raise funds for an organisation that supports the education of girls in poor countries – by taking part of the ‘Do it in a Dress’ campaign.

For one day all students were invited to come in wearing a dress or casual clothes as part of the charity day, in exchange for a donation.

The campaign did not go down well with Bernardi, a prominent opponent of LGBT rights and leading voice in the country’s anti-gay marriage movement.

He tweeted: “One school in SA now has ‘wear a dress day’. This gender morphing is really getting absurd.”

Politician tried to bully school over charity ‘wear a dress day’, but it majorly backfired

However, Bernardi’s attempt to bully the school did not end up how he intended.

The fancy dress fundraiser recieved a groundswell of support after the Senator’s tweet was picked up by Josh Thomas, a comedian who created one of our favourite gay TV shows, Please Like Me.

Thomas wrote: “These kids are being bullied by Cory for trying to help underprivileged girls.

“Presumably Cory had basic comprehension skills. He read this and purposefully misrepresented the intent. Again: these are kids doing charity

“They’ve even made space for boys that don’t feel comfortable wearing dresses.

“These kids were being sweet, compassionate and kind. Their cause is worthy. I’m going to donate $1000 to support them.”

He shared the link to the school’s charity donation fund online, and others have quickly added to his contribution.

The school had a target of just $900 for the charity day, but with help from Thomas and others it has now surged to more than $11,000 (and counting).

Politician tried to bully school over charity ‘wear a dress day’, but it majorly backfired

Do It In A Dress says the donations are enough to pay for 37 girls to get an education in Africa.

People have given donations ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars, attaching supportive messages for the school.

Thomas – who later upped his donation to $2000 after “getting emotional” reading about the charity’s work – told the school: “It’s so nice to see primary school kids take a look outside their world, see that there are people less privileged than them and work to help.

“What you are doing here is really sweet and kind and I’m glad I can contribute. Well done!”

Politician tried to bully school over charity ‘wear a dress day’, but it majorly backfired


One donor wrote: “I’m so glad Cory Bernadi is spreading the word about the great work you’re doing to raise money for girls’ education, I would never have known to donate otherwise!”

Another donor told the school: “Don’t let loud shouty people convince you that what you are doing is anything other than great. Keep doing what you are doing, ignore Cory.

“It’s when you stop thinking about the world and having fun that you turn into loud shouty person.”

Senator Bernardi stormed out of the country’s governing Liberal Party earlier this year to set up the hard-right Australian Conservatives, after several leading Liberals distanced themselves from his increasing anti-LGBT activism.

He previously claimed that a sex education anti-bullying programme teaches children how to buy sex toys and visit bondage clubs.

Bernardi was branded a homophobe by the leader of the opposition Bill Shorten after claiming LGBT anti-bullying programmes in schools amount to “brainwashing” from the gay rights movement.

He has previously compared equal marriage to bestiality.

During a debate on same-sex marriage, the politician insisted: “Is having three people that love each other should [they] be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society, or four people?

“There are even some creepy people out there, who say that it’s ok to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?”

Do It In A Dress said: “We’re a non profit organisation that believes that EVERY girl on the planet has the right to an education.

“No matter where she is born, how much her family earns, what culture she adheres to, or what her religion says – EVERY GIRL deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and be the best she can be. We believe when you educate a girl, she can change her world.

“The funds raised through Do It In A Dress fund our girl-focused projects in Sierra Leone and Uganda.”

The school’s donation page is here