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I'm a Cross Between the Milk Tray Man and Gandhi

06/07/2015 13:40 BST | Updated 05/07/2016 10:59 BST

When the disability charity Scope asked me to play the Milk Tray Man in their online spoof of the cheesy Cadbury's Milk Tray ads, I had to go online and research them all. Being Australian I had no idea what they were talking about.

I discovered the Milk Tray man is the ultimate 1970s-80s man - he's rugged without being sculpted, confident, nothing throws him - from sharks to jumping from helicopters - and he has amazing hair. Whereas I would be solid without being in any way fit, slightly unsure of myself - I get thrown easily, but I've also got amazing hair.

The only thing missing from the original Milk Tray ads is a good cause. Sure the lady loves Milk Tray and you're keeping her happy, but that's just one person. I like the idea I can do both - I'm a cross between the Milk Tray man and Gandhi - doing good deeds while also having good hair.

The whole premise behind the video is that Scope loves your donated clothes as much as the lady loves Milk Tray. Donating to charity shops is the easiest thing in the world; taking things you haven't worn in ages, putting them in a bag and taking them to your local Scope shop. It's a material, direct, concrete way of supporting charities.

But the appeal is also about changing attitudes to disability.

During the Superbowl in America this year there were two adverts that featured disabled people, which is brilliant. We are finally worth exploiting! There is also an amazing trend of seeing disabled people in films at the moment. Charlize Theron's character in Mad Max has a prosthetic arm; one of the villains in Kingsman had prosthetic legs; and all of this makes it cool to have a disability.

However, there's no middle ground - we're either inspirational, or in need of your help. We definitely need more disabled people in adverts, on TV and in movies. But hey, it's a start.

Scope research says some 90% of disabled people believe that having more disabled people in the media would improve attitudes to disability.

For me, the Paralympics changed everything.

Disability in Australia was seen quite differently after the 2000 Paralympics and I think a similar thing happened here in the UK. I think the games made disability not only okay, but wonderful.

But unfortunately in Britain there's a real stigma attached to benefits and I think somehow that has become associated with disability.

That's the difference between attitudes to disability in the UK compared to Australia. 'Disabled' in some people's minds, equals benefits, equals scrounging off the state, and that's a real problem in Britain at the moment.

With just over a year until the Rio Paralympics, it's a great time to be challenging attitudes to disability. We need to finally move beyond disabled people either being held up as inspirational or condemned as benefit scroungers.

The Paralympics made it cool to have a disability, and it made me proud to own my disability. The thing is, I've never thought of myself as disabled, and I still don't. I prefer the term mutant because it sounds edgier.

The Last Leg, which started as a Paralympics panel show, made talking about disability issues okay. We knew people would have qualms about discussing disability during the Games, and we knew we'd have to ease that tension before we could do our show.

Once the Paralympics ended we just kept the same attitude - positive, inclusive and live. Three years on, I think we normalise disability, while still making it funny.

Occasionally someone will come up to me after a show and tell me they have a child who has lost a limb. They say after watching our show they realise that it doesn't mean their child's life still can't be amazing. That's the kind of role model I'm happy to be. If jumping around a country house like the Milk Tray Man helps a 10-year-old with a prosthetic to maintain a positive attitude about it, then I'll be happy.