Healthy Harold Was Killed And Rose From The Ashes Like A God
After mass outrage over a shock announcement that the federal government would cut funding to Life Education Australia (the non-government provider of school health education and creator of everyone’s favourite pious giraffe Healthy Harold), the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has quickly confirmed the budget decision will be reversed.
In short: Harold lives.
If you missed this whole saga, a Department of Education and Training spokesperson yesterday confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the government’s grant agreement with LEA would expire on July 1 this year and not be renewed for the first time in 35 years.
It didn’t go down well. News of the cuts were met with an immediate public backlash, both from preventative health advocates and those mourning Healthy Harold out of surreal nostalgia.
For half the cost of a campaign like Stoned Sloth, Healthy Harold educated thousands of kids about healthy eating, cigarettes and alcohol
— Amber Robinson (@missrobinson) May 30, 2017
Healthy Harold is a goddamn Australian hero. Who else is going to teach kids about drugs in the back of a dark van?!! pic.twitter.com/WEGLiKfuwP
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) May 30, 2017
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) May 30, 2017
where to hide a giraffes body
— Aus Gov Just Googled (@GovGoogles) May 30, 2017
LEA CEO David Ballhausen spoke out about the cuts, which would seriously impact a program where “school demand… consistently outstrips our capacity to supply it”.
“This is where the Australian Government funding cut will impact — many tens of thousands of young Australians will now miss out on the opportunity we could otherwise provide them to develop the critical life skills they need to make safer and healthier choices.”
And surprisingly, Birmingham announced a reversal of the decision within mere hours of the BuzzFeed report. The renewed funding has naturally been welcomed by LEA and HH fans alike.
We support #HealthyHarold & will work with Life Education Australia to ensure the funding & the program continues
— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) May 30, 2017
— Mark Di Stefano ?? (@MarkDiStef) May 30, 2017
Thank you, Alice, for helping generate such amazing support! https://t.co/ELrZ1mrKvz
— Life Education (@LifeEdAus) May 31, 2017
As Ballhausen said in his response to the initial cuts, the federal funding will ensure more than 750,000 young Australians participate in the preventative program, which focuses on alcohol, drugs and general healthy living.
The funding also means that the company’s mascot Healthy Harold, that sanctimonious ~clean living~ nerd who is also a freakish giraffe, has also been resurrected.
He is Risen. Alleluia. pic.twitter.com/sdFWfMitiD
— Shannon Deery (@s_deery) May 30, 2017
Now, Harold was never technically dead, not just because he’s a soulless puppet, but because LEA receives funding from federal and state governments as well as private donors.
Sill, people are going wild online — although opinions are divided between those who have a nostalgic fondness for the talking giraffe, those who found his self-righteous “drugs are bad, m’kay” attitude just a little too unbearable, and those who had never heard of that damn puppet before.
I took this and have never forgotten it. What kind of crim giraffe wears black gloves? pic.twitter.com/ocqPiZus4a
— Rick Morton (@SquigglyRick) May 30, 2017
some loose unit at my primary school defaced the healthy harold van by writing "fuck" pretty small in permanent marker. take that harold!!
— Kate Price (@KAAAAAATE) May 30, 2017
I went to Catholic school so Healthy Harold wasn't allowed to talk about sex or drugs, he just told us not to be racist
— pastel twink (@twinkbahn) May 30, 2017
A kid in my class got suspended for punching the Healthy Harold puppet
— Joe McKenzie (@aJoeMcKenzie) May 30, 2017
On our last visit with Healthy Harold in year 6 we were shown (at request) where the hand went into Harold and a girl burst into tears
— Bridie Jabour (@bkjabour) May 30, 2017
Did Queensland have Healthy Harold or an equivalent? I remember a dog being let loose at school once but he didn't give us any advice.
— Peter Taggart (@petertaggart) May 30, 2017
So welcome back to the land of the living, Healthy Harold, but I am an adult now so you may NOT judge me. You have no power over me, Harold.