The celebrated 62-year-old actress was recognised for her contribution to the television industry at Sunday’s ceremony and received a standing ovation for her powerful comments on sexism and bigotry in the television industry and the power of human vulnerability.
Hazlehurst is only the second woman to be inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 32 years.
I fear that our hearts are growing cold. The fact that I’m only the second woman to be given this honour is merely a reflection of the prevailing zeitgeist,” she said.
“As is the odious suggestion in some quarters that the eligibility of our esteemed colleagues, Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin, to be considered for the gold is questionable.
Things are clearly changing, but they are changing glacially slowly. The great thing about glaciers is that if you aren’t on them you go under. I’ve been riding that glacier for 40 years and I’m staying on top of it.”
The Play School alumna lamented the harmful effect of negative media saturation on mental health and reflected on how her time on the ABC children’s program changed her life outlook.
I started to see the world through preschoolers’ eyes, to see how free and unafraid they are, to just be. They haven’t yet been conditioned.
“But also how easily frightened and overwhelmed they are, how easily abused, and particularly how empathetic they are. No child is born a bigot.”
Hazlehurst called for a television channel or program which featured stories to inspire and show children good things are happening in the world.
The former Better Homes and Gardens host began trending on Twitter as praise poured in following her rousing speech.
Noni Hazlehurst is making a terrific speech, including a great shout out about feminism & diversity,” author Jane Caro tweeted.
“Completely stunning speech from Noni Hazelhurst as she is awarded the much-deserved Logies Hall of Fame award,” Today host Lisa Wilkinson wrote.
When pressed later on the motivation behind her speech, Hazlehurst told Fairfax Media: “That’s just who I am”.
The mother-of-two said it shouldn’t make headlines when Aly or Chin were nominated for a Gold Logie.
“Change only happens when enough people put up their hands and say ‘I’ve had enough’ and that is gradually happening, but as I said in my speech, things are moving glacially slow.
“I look forward to the day when it’s not an issue whether a man or a woman or an Asian person or a Muslim gets anything in this country. We share more similarities than differences and I’m really keen to promote that idea.”
Hazlehurst, calling the accolade the ultimate Mother’s Day gift, called for people to find strength in vulnerability.
“[Director] Graham Blundell once wrote about me … ‘No-one does ordinary and vulnerable like Noni Hazlehurst’.
“But then I thought it’s okay, because in fact we’re all vulnerable and we’re all ordinary. Although, a lot of our energy is spent trying to prove the opposite.”