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Health Minister announces urgent investigation into taxpayer-funded campaign working with Instagram influencers – Politics


Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an immediate review into his own department’s use of Instagram influencers to encourage young women to exercise more.

A report by The Daily Telegraph revealed the Health Department had spent more than $600,000 in taxpayer funds on the #girlsmakeyourmove campaign over the past 18 months.

The spend included paying a number of Instagrammers for posts encouraging their followers to get involved in activities like kickboxing, yoga, surfing, roller derby and rock climbing.

Instagram photos of young women in activewear and swimwear by the beach.Infographic: Instagram posts from @jadetunchy and @_lucyinthesky that share a @GirlsMakeYourMove sponsored message. (Instagram)

But some of those involved in the campaign have had their level of “influence” questioned and previous controversial conduct brought back into the spotlight.

One of the most popular influencers involved, Lily May Mac, made a public apology last year for tweets she sent in the past using racist language and homophobic slurs, which she described as her “distasteful sense of humour”.

Screenshot shows two tweets from @lilymaymac dated 2012 that say "many mediocre Asian girls coupled with really hot white boys"Infographic: Lily May Mac apologised in May last year for tweets like these from 2012. (Twitter)

While many of the accounts promoting the Health Department initiative have up to hundreds of thousands of followers, The Daily Telegraph pointed to a report by data analysis firm Lumio that found many accounts were not “valuable” form an advertising perspective.

Several of the influencers working with the campaign have also used their accounts to work with alcohol brands.

Stevie Alger, who shared a number of #girlsmakeyourmove posts, also works with brands including tanning oil and an Australian sparkling wine company.

A young woman poses for Instagram photos, in activewear at a beach and in swimwear in a bath with a glass of wine.Infographic: Instagram posts from @steviealger sponsored by the Girls Make Your Move campaign and Bevi Prosecco Spritz. (Instagram)

Mr Hunt today called for an “immediate review of the use of these influencers”.

A spokesperson for Mr Hunt said the Minister “did not endorse these posts and found them offensive”.

The marketing agency responsible for the campaign no longer has the Government advertising contract.



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