Culture

Crowdfunding Legends Have Raised More Than $30,000 To Help Out Duncan From #QandA

That's a lot of toasters.

One of the highlights of Monday night’s Q&A was an exchange between Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer and disabled father-of-two Duncan Storrar, whose critiques of the government’s budget priorities have gone viral and vaulted Storrar into national prominence.

O’Dwyer, in contrast, suffered a pretty serious blow to her image when she tried to address Storrar’s concerns. While defending cutting taxes for small business, O’Dwyer raised eyebrows by invoking a cafe owner she knows who’s now able to afford a $6,000 toaster (skip to about 1:30 into the video below to see it).

It was an extremely odd example of economic progress to give to a man who’d just said he struggles to afford his kids, and it’s become shorthand for people who, like Storrar, question whether the government’s doing enough to help the vulnerable rather than the well-off. Since then, there’s been a fair amount of fascination over this $6,000 toaster O’Dwyer was so full of praise for. Fairfax went ahead and found the toaster in question — a stainless-steel mammoth that can toast 1,000 pieces of bread an hour — but not before plenty of people had fun imagining what a toaster that costs more than a dodgy second-hand car looks like.

The toaster’s caught so many people’s imaginations it’s become the ironic subject of a fundraising drive. Started by Samuel Fawcett yesterday, the ‘Buy Duncan Storrar a Toaster’ GoFundMe campaign has racked up an astonishing $33,730 from 1,308 donors in less than 24 hours. The campaign admins have pledged to contact Storrar soon and share the good news with him, presumably before taking him shopping to pick up five industrial-scale megatoasters.

While this has turned into one hell of a week for Storrar, there are plenty of people in similar situations out there who’ll never have the benefit of a media frenzy to help them improve their lot. According to the Australian Council of Social Service, the latest budget has locked in funding reductions that will hit people on low incomes the hardest, including “cuts from family payments, income support for young people and paid parental leave”. ACOSS is fighting to reverse those cuts and provide support to the people who’ll be affected by them, and they need money badly too. Head here if you want to donate — it won’t go towards fancy toasters, but it might end up making more of a difference in the long run.