Australian celebrities, politicians and CEOs to sell magazines with homeless on the streets this February

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A homeless man sleeps next to his belongings as pedestrians walk past during rush hour in central Sydney October 6. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

More than 60 Australian celebrities, politicians and senior business leaders will take to the streets next month as part of a national campaign aiming to shine a spotlight on homelessness and disadvantage.

During the first week of February, high-profile Australians will spruik and sell street magazine The Big Issue in various locations across the country.

The initiative will mark The Big Issue (TBI) organisation’s fourth annual International Vendor Week, which seeks to raise awareness for the 11,000 disadvantaged people who sell street papers in 35 countries around the world.

TBI began in Australia in 1996 as an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to “supporting and creating job opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people.”

The group’s employees, or ‘vendors’, represent a small fraction of the estimated 256,000 Australians who are unable to access mainstream jobs due to disadvantaged circumstances such as disabilities or homelessness. 

Vendors buy copies of the fortnightly Big Issue magazine for $3.50 and sell them for $7, keeping the difference as their income.

Among the prominent Australians taking part in this year’s International Vendors Week are Premier of NSW Mike Baird, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek, and Telstra CEO Andy Penn.

In previous years, the organisation has also garnered support from some of Australia’s most popular entertainers, sports and television personalities, including comedians Denise Scott and Dave Hughes, and footballer Shane Savage.

TBI hopes the support of prominent figures in the community will significantly boost sales and help the group reach its goal of “$100,000 to put into vendors’ pockets” from the February issue.

International Vendor Week will run across all Australian states from February 1-7, 2016.

Other guest sellers for the week include:

Katy Gallagher – Senator for the ACT, Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homeless, Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations
Nicole Lawder – Member for Brindabella, Shadow Minister for Housing, Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Shadow Minister for the Environment, ACT Government
Yvette Berry – Member for Gininderra, Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Women, ACT Government

Andrew Bragg – Director of Policy and Global Markets, Financial Services Council
Danny Gilbert – Managing Partner, Gilbert + Tobin
Don Burnett – Finance Director, MSS Security
Dunstan de Souza - Managing Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley
Frank Calabria – CEO of Energy Markets, Origin Energy
Geoff Lloyd – Managing Director and CEO, Perpetual
John Brogden – Managing Director and CEO, Australian Institute of Company Directors
Michael Coutts-Trotter – Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Service
Peter Scott – Chairman, Perpetual
Robert Cutler – CEO, Clayton Utz
Sally Kincaid – Chief Human Resources Officer, QBE
Sheryl Weil – Head of Service Sales Centre and Operations, Banking and Financial Services, Macquarie Group

Alan Maguire – Partner in Charge, Clayton Utz
David Baldwin – CEO of Integrated Gas, Origin Energy
Daryl Clifford – Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Jon Meadmore – Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley
Matthew Vandermeer – State Manager of Advice Partnerships, MLC
Michael Coonan – Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Peter Schmidt – Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

Adrian Swale – Partner, Minter Ellison
Ian Cox – CEO, Hutt Street Centre
Kelly Vincent – Member of SA Legislative Council, Dignity for Disability
Peer Norsell – General Manager, Hilton Adelaide
Rachel Sanderson – Member for Adelaide, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Science and the Information Economy, Shadow Minister for Families and Child Protection, Shadow Minister for Social Housing, Shadow Minister for Volunteers and Youth, SA Government
Steve Laidlaw – CEO, People’s Choice Credit Union
Steven Marshall – State Liberal Leader, State Member for Dunstan
Zoe Bettison – Member for Ramsay, Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers, SA Government

Adam Bandt – Member for Melbourne, Federal Government
Alan Peckham – Chief Administrative Officer, Herbert Smith Freehills
Andy Penn – CEO, Telstra
Carolyn Viney – CEO, Grocon
Cathy Seaholme – General Manager, The Body Shop
Christine Corbett – Executive General Manager of Postal and eCommerce Services, Australia Post
Craig Dent – CEO, State Trustees
David Lindberg – Chief Executive of Commercial and Business Bank, Westpac
Ged Kearney – President, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Jeremy Blackshaw – Partner, Minter Ellison
Jeremy King – Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Judith Downes – Chairman, Bank Australia
Lisa Livis – State General Manager of Retail Banking, Westpac
Luke Sayers – CEO, PwC Australia
Mary Padbury – Vice Chairman, Ashurst
Michaela Healey – Group Executive of Governance and Reputation, NAB
Patrick Ashkettle – Chief Risk Officer, Bank Australia
Richard Wynne – State Member for Richmond, Minister for Planning, Victorian Government
Rod Fielding – Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Allens
Scott Munn – CEO, Melbourne City FC
Simon Mckeon – Chairman, AMP
Sonya Clancy – Chairman, The Big Issue
Tracey Fellows – CEO, REA Group

Amanda Hunt – State Director for WA and SA, Mission Australia
Colin Holt – Member for South West Region, Minister for Housing, Racing and Gaming, WA Government
Dale Alcock – Managing Director, ABN Group
Grant Robson – Executive Director, Macquarie Group
Irina Cattalini – CEO, West Australian Council of Social Services
John Berger – CEO, St Bartholomew’s House
Kent Anderson - Deputy Vice-Chairman for Community and Engagement, University of Western Australia
Liam Twigger – Managing Director, PCF Capital and Chairman, Football West
Mark Fitzpatrick – CEO, St Vincent de Paul WA
Mark Glasson – Executive General Manager of Service Operations, Anglicare WA
Scott Ludlam – Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader, Senator for WA
Scott Phillips – CEO, Kidsafe WA
Spencer Flay – Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

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