Nine is hoping to raise millions of dollars, with funds to go to the Red Cross Bush Fire Appeal, which has already raised about 50 million dollars through donations from individuals and companies. Miranda Kerr and her boyfriend Hollywood star Orlando Bloom and Australian actors Hugh Jackman, Anthony La Paglia, Rachel Griffiths and Simon Baker are other celebrities involved in Nine Network's national telethon.
Politicians include Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Victorian Premier John Brumby. Also joining the cause is the Australian cricket team, Shane Warne, radio stars Hamish and Andy, Underbelly stars Kate Ritchie and Roy Billing. Olympians Cathy Freeman, Liesel Jones and Grant Hackett will also join AFL and rugby league players to represent sports stars.
The performers include the Living End, Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes, Lee Kernaghan, Shannon Noll, Kate Ceberano, and John Williamson. Eddie McGuire will host the event, which will feature personalities Lisa Wilkinson, Karl Stefanovic, Tracy Grimshaw and Leila McKinnon reporting from fire-ravaged areas.
Nine chief executive David Gyngell said he had been blown away by the support. "The sports and entertainment industries have a fine tradition of pulling together when needed, but the level of support for Australia Unites is unprecedented and we thank everyone for their involvement," Herald Sun quoted Gyngell, as saying.
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