May 6 - 12, 2012: Issue 57 

Above:  Kelly Connolly. Below: Karen Baldwin, Kelly and Healthy Harold. Healthy Harold is the mascot for Life Education Australia at:

About LEA
Life Education Australia (LEA) is a registered charity, and not-for-profit organisation. LEA is comprised of 6 Federated States and Territories. Life Education Australia provides positive programs that develop the social skills and knowledge necessary for effective decision-making, communication, negotiation, peer resistance and refusal in drug-related situations.

Life Education encourages respect for the uniqueness of each individual, and teaches the skills to assert confidently that individuality, especially in social settings with friends. Life Education aims, in partnership with schools and the community, to help reduce tobacco use and illegal drug use among young people; encourage them to avoid or delay alcohol use; and reduce the harms associated with any drug use.

Life Education's primary schools programs which commenced in 1979 are delivered by 120 full-time and part-time educators using Life Education's national network of more than 90 mobile and static classrooms, complemented by direct delivery in school classrooms. Over 750,000 students participate in the program each year.

Life Education's programs are based on the latest research, and provide high quality drug education featuring role-play; social skills training; correction of common myths; and varied, fast-moving and interactive activities facilitated by excellent educators assisted by the latest multi-media technology.

Life Education Australia believes prevention is better than cure!

Copyright Robyn McWilliam, 2012. All Rights Reserved. 

 A Luncheon Experience
by Robyn McWilliam

Glistening wine glasses are raised to lipsticked mouths. Hands gesticulate amidst the cacophony. It is Wednesday 14 March and the function room at Royal Motor Yacht Club is full of women deep in conversation. This is one of the few days of the year for ladies who do lunch.

General Manager, Karen Baldwin, calls for quiet as she launches the third year of Ladies Luncheons. The speakers are the highlight. In the past sex therapist, Bettina Arndt, shared some racy tales and Di Morrissey elaborated on her research for her novel, The Plantation.

Tables at one end display jewellery, candles, diffusers and beauty therapy vouchers. Local business owners support the lunches by donating raffle prizes and offering members and guests discounts on their products. The proceeds of the raffle go to a selected charity. Over the past two years $11000 has been donated to Breast Cancer Network, which supports breast cancer sufferers. One lucky person at each table takes home the centrepiece. For one new grandmother this was a delightful set of book ends for a baby’s room.

This year Healthy Harold, the giraffe joins Karen on stage. Life Education is announced as the new recipient. When Ted Noffs started this organisation in 1979 he had a revolutionary idea – talk to children about drugs and health in a creative, interesting and entertaining way.

Following our main course we are introduced to this year’s first guest, Kelly Connolly, a mum of three, who gives us an insight into her 20 years working in the media. Kelly describes the high pressure environment of working for A Current Affair. She’s been in floods, around bushfires, met cross-dressing criminals and been detained by police in Indonesia. Her highlights include dancing with John Travolta on his private jet and meeting Christopher Reeve.

Starting as a cadet at the ABC, Kelly was thrown into politics. A country girl who wore skirts and pearls, she had to find a way of working with older lecherous men.

Fourteen years ago Kelly came to Sydney, the centre of the media universe in Australia. She worked on Money with Paul Clitheroe but her size became an issue. A size 12 bordering on 14, Kelly was seen as too fat for TV. She went to a network stylist who said she had great t*ts and fantastic legs but not for a finance show. Hence the move into current affairs.

The media wants stories. Kelly was told, “We’ve just got to feed the Beast.” Journalists also have to get both sides of the story, be impartial. She travelled the world with A Current Affair. The competition with Today Tonight was fierce. Kelly related a story of a fellow with 300 rabbits in his back yard. It was like Watership Down. She tried telling her boss she was allergic to rabbits. He told her use antihistamines and get out there. Her team beat the other reporters.

Kelly joined the Today Show hosting alongside Karl Stefanovic for six months. Ninety per cent of the people interviewed were fabulous. Her career sky-rocketed after her first baby. Following her second, her age and family/work balance brought issues. Kelly’s own priorities changed; she became less ambitious. Part-time work wasn’t possible so Kelly did the night shift to be with her kids during the day. She forgot about sleep and neglected her husband until a third child brought the circle of stress to an end.

Kelly’s life is now balanced, fun and couldn’t be better. For those interested she teaches tricks of the trade: to communicate with the media, how to be on camera, the inside story. Kelly also appears on 2GB’s Ben Fordham show to debate the news of the week. What a fascinating journey of a career woman and mother facing the challenge of working in the media.

The next Ladies Luncheon is on Wednesday 23 May will feature Dr Ginni Mansberg speaking on How to Get Your Mojo Back – a Woman’s Guide to Health and Happiness. I’m looking forward to it. To book ring RMYC 99975511.