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Jack Toohey

Jack Toohey can see a better future. And he wants to help us get there.

You probably know Toohey as the guy in that viral video about how the Australian housing market is broken – the one that amassed over 20 million views between Instagram and TikTok by pointing out the irrefutable difference between buying a house in 1983 and 2023. (We could explain it here, but really, it’s easier to just watch the video).

That razor sharp video introduced Toohey as a creator, communicator, filmmaker and advocate with a knack for explaining complex topics simply. Since tackling the housing market, he’s turned his focus to topics like gender pay gap (yes, it exists), Australia Day (no, it shouldn’t), climate change, renters’ rights and why the Australian government should provide free menstrual products. On his own channels, he’s hit back at the lies pushed by men like Jordan Peterson, spoken up in support of the Voice referendum and explored why our energy bills are so expensive. And on TV and radio, he’s appeared as the token millennial voice (of reason) on programs like Sunrise, triple j’s Hack and ABC Radio National.

Now, Toohey is expanding into new mediums. He is launching the new podcast called Apathy Anonymous together with co-host Lizzie Hedding, which aims to shake listeners into action on today’s most pressing issues. He’s about to share a full-length documentary about the potential of regenerative agriculture. And he is also at work on his first book, set to be released via Allen & Unwin in 2025. Titled Doom and Bloom, it will explore the problems with our environment, housing, economy, media, politics, and men – and then look at their solutions. Because as Toohey sees it, the world is not irrevocably fucked. We can change things – it’s just going to take some time and work.

Toohey only began posting his explainer videos in 2023 but his early career led him to this moment. He started out as a photographer in the music industry, shooting clubs and music festivals. From there he started his own creative agency, a job that saw him direct everything from a Bollywood video clip to a doco about Matt Corby. On the side, he’s worked as a music manager, logged serious hours as a DJ, and spent countless weekends taking his camera to protests to amplify the voices and messages he saw there. But after the pandemic prompted us all to do some soul searching, Toohey decided to step away from his agency and make room for something new. It turns out that jack-of-all-trades skillset perfectly prepared him to translate the things that are unfair in Australia to wide audiences.

For Toohey, every video he makes, podcast he records and word he writes is driven by the same motivation: to get audiences engaged and influence positive change.

“It is possible to shake people out of their apathy,” he says. “I think the powers-that-be have a vested interest in people being apathetic and thinking nothing can change, when really, things can change. And there’s really amazing people out there doing really amazing things. We just need more people to realise that”.

And he’s not bowing out of the fight any time soon. Jack Toohey will keep yelling about the things that are broken and how we can fix them until the work is done. If he has to keep DJing every night to pay the bills so he can make videos all day, “then so be it”.