Carol Ireland Epilepsy Action Australia E-Tea Interview

Carol Ireland Epilepsy Action Australia E-Tea Interview

What Is Australia's All-Time Favourite Treat To Have For Morning Or Afternoon Tea?

It's no secret that Australians are rather fond of a sweet treat to accompany their favourite cuppa, whether it's the warm and fudgy deliciousness of a chocolate brownie, the spongey, coconutty delight of a lamington, or the nostalgic satisfaction of a top-heavy cupcake.

To delve deeper into Australia's obsession with morning and afternoon tea, and to launch the 2017 Epilepsy Action Australia E-Tea campaign (a national community fundraising initiative taking place this November) a survey of 1,000 Australians has been commissioned, to reveal the nation's preferences and to ultimately determine a favourite when it comes to these delicious treats.

Drumroll please… how do your favourites stack up?

In an epic battle of biscuits versus baked goods, Australians have voted scones, doughnuts and carrot cake (in that order) as their top three all-time favourite treats to enjoy for morning or afternoon tea.

The dependable scone and the versatile doughnut were unsurprising inclusions in the top three, however the number three ranking of carrot cake was quite an unexpected result. Even more surprising was that carrot cake was the number one favourite in Queensland!

Australians aged 50 years and older have very different tastes to those aged in their 20s and 30s, with 12% of Millennials counting chocolate brownies as their all-time favourite, compared with just 4% of over 50s. Doughnuts are also much more popular among the younger crowd (12% of Millennials, compared to 6% of over 50s), whereas older Aussies are more likely to enjoy a scone than Millennials (13% compared to 5%).

While a survey about the morning tea habits of Australians may seem somewhat frivolous, the E-Tea campaign by Epilepsy Action Australia is anything but. Epilepsy is the world's most common serious brain disorder, with an estimated 65 million people currently diagnosed worldwide. Closer to home, it is estimated that around 250,000 Australians are currently living with the condition. Epilepsy is more than three times as common as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and cerebral palsy.

By hosting a fundraising morning or afternoon tea – an 'E-Tea' – during the month of November (Epilepsy Awareness Month), Australians can help to play a pivotal role in bringing epilepsy out of the shadows, and raising essential funds for the programs and services EAA provides to people with epilepsy and their families.

Cathy, from Campbelltown, SA, hosted an E-Tea event last year, and said it was a great way to get involved in Epilepsy Awareness Month.
"We had a wonderful afternoon E-Tea event, where we had a raffle and quizzes to raise funds," says Cathy. "Afternoon tea was home-baked by me, with friends and family all bringing a plate – it was a true feast! Local businesses were very generous to us and we were so pleased to have 73 family and friends attend. My son Martin, who has epilepsy, told his story so we were able to raise awareness as well as having fun and fundraising. Everyone had a great time and we were delighted to have made a difference for other families."

Rayleen, from Southern River, WA, became aware of the value of the programs and services that Epilepsy Action provides are, after her son Dylan was diagnosed with epilepsy.
"Our situation was so scary, so full of emotion, the unknown and the grieving," explains Rayleen. "Just having someone to talk to about what was going on, who could give us some clear guidance when we really had no support from anywhere else, it was a godsend. Epilepsy Action Australia has been a lifeline."

Carol Ireland, CEO of Epilepsy Action adds, "People with epilepsy can face enormous challenges in every aspect of their lives, from school to work to relationships, and even just the everyday activities of living. With E-Tea, we wanted to create a fundraising campaign that the community can easily get involved in to raise funds and also increase awareness and understanding of epilepsy. We want people to have conversations about epilepsy, to share their own personal experiences – and what better way than by having a chat while sharing your favourite sweet treats with a pot of tea or coffee. I was very pleased to see my personal favourite, carrot cake, make the list at number three!"

To help get your E-Tea event off to a flying start, EAA is giving away FREE goodie packs containing an exciting selection of tea, coffee and sweet things, to everyone who registers to host a morning or afternoon E-Tea! So get in there quick before they're all gone!

Order your free E-Tea goodie pack today by visiting or call Epilepsy Action on 1300 37 45 37.

Interview with Carol Ireland, CEO of Epilepsy Action

Question: Why did Epilepsy Action commission the Australia's favourite morning or afternoon tea treat survey?

Carol Ireland: We wanted to start a conversation around people's favourite morning or afternoon tea treats to encourage them to get involved in our E-Tea fundraising campaign.

Question: What did the survey find?

Carol Ireland: The survey found that the humble scone is Australia's favourite tea-time treat, with doughnuts coming in second, and carrot cake – a surprising inclusion for some! – rounding out the top three.

Question: What are your personal favourite morning or afternoon tea treats?

Carol Ireland: I love a piece of carrot cake, so was very pleased to see it make the top three!

Question: Can you tell us about the Epilepsy Action's E-Tea campaign?

Carol Ireland: E-Tea is a really simple community fundraising campaign, whereby members of the community get together over a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of something delicious to raise funds for Epilepsy Action Australia, and raise awareness of what it's like to live with epilepsy. We encourage people to share their experiences about living with epilepsy, or caring for a loved one with epilepsy, to start conversations in the community, and try and dispel some of the myths around the condition. Epilepsy is not an uncommon condition – in fact it's the most common serious brain condition in the world, and around a quarter of a million Australians live with it – and yet understanding and awareness of the condition remains frustratingly low. We know that sharing people's stories and experiences is what works to increase awareness, so that's what we focus on.

Question: What's involved in an E-Tea event?

Carol Ireland: Hosting an E-Tea event is incredibly simple – people can register online on the Epilepsy Action website at and then simply invite their friends and family over at a time that suits. Some hosts organise games or speakers, and others just have a chat over a cuppa. It is entirely up to the host how they'd like to run their event. For people who register we have some fabulous free goodie packs containing an exciting selection of teas, coffees, and sweet things, so make sure you jump online today!

Question: What do you hope to achieve this November?

Carol Ireland: This November we hope to surpass the number of E-Tea events that were held last year, and to start some meaningful conversations about the impact of epilepsy. And of course we'd like to raise more funds!

Question: How can Australians support the Epilepsy Action's E-Tea campaign?

Carol Ireland: Go to the Epilepsy Action website to register to host your own E-Tea, or encourage your workplace or community group to hold an event – it's really simple and not at all onerous! Plus you get to enjoy some guilt-free cake.

Question: Where do the funds raised go?

Carol Ireland: The funds raised through the E-Tea campaign go towards the continuation of the many life-changing programs and services provided by Epilepsy Action across the country.

Interview by Brooke Hunter