Bill had been under immense and quite unjustified pressure for months on end from those two awful examples of home-grown and imported wowsers, Professor Gillian Triggs and 'Kommissioner' Tim Soutphommasane. It is they, paid for by the coerced taxpayer, who are responsible.
Neither of those people will ever step foot in the Tavern while they have not apologised deeply for their harrassment and calumny and bought at least a slab or a barrel. Calumny is a sin. Those two are prime sinners. Fifty of each of these excuses for free Australians of 'progressive' tolerance, dignity and integrity would not amount to one Bill Leak. But we shall let Bill tell of his times in his own words and drawings.
To the Islamists and HRC offence-takers: suck it up, snowflakes
Ladies and gentlemen, I know it’s International Women’s Day, so first I must apologise for not being a woman. It’s particularly regrettable that I’m not a glamorous Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian woman who wears a hijab promoting a book about what it’s like being a glamorous Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian woman who wears a hijab. If I was, this wouldn’t be the only event I’ve got lined up on my non-government-funded whirlwind Trigger Warning awareness-raising tour.
When I met the great cartoonist Bill Mitchell about 34 years ago, he said, “Mate, a cartoonist only has to be funny once a day, but it’s a lot harder than you’d think.” He was right, but he had no idea how much harder it would be for me than it ever was for him.
For a start, for Mitchell to come up with a cartoon, all he had to do was take a serious political issue, exaggerate it to the point of ridiculousness, then draw what he saw when he got there. But I can’t do that because the ideas our politicians come up with these days are utterly ridiculous to begin with.
And if you’re starting at the point of absurdity, where do you go from there? I mean, what am I going to have to come up with to make teachers in the Safe Schools program look ridiculous when they actually start giving jobs to gimps? And how long do you think it will be then before some gimps’ rights campaigner accuses me of gimpophobia? It’s only a matter of time.
Another reason the job’s so much harder now than it was for Mitchell is because, unlike him, I can’t just breezily assume people are looking at my cartoons hoping to get a laugh. Ever since conceptual art supplanted transcendent art, all art has been reduced to the level of graffiti. And to people reared on postmodernism and cultural relativism who can’t tell the difference between Picasso and Banksy, I’m not a cartoonist drawing cartoons for a newspaper; I’m an artist exhibiting his work in a gallery that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors through the doors every day.
And the work of a man like that has to be taken very seriously indeed. It has to be analysed. It has to be deconstructed. It has to be decoded by these people in a search for hidden meanings. And because art, like political activism, is a form of therapy, it’s supposed to reinforce and confirm their prejudices, not challenge them.
Well, bugger that.
Political correctness is a poison that attacks the sense of humour. Luckily for Mitchell, it was tipped into our water supply at around the time he retired and, since then, it’s infected an awful lot of people. As the senses of humour of people suffering from PC atrophy, their sensitivity to criticism becomes more and more acute until they get to the stage where everything offends them and they lose the ability to laugh.
For people with chronic PC, feeling offended is about as good as it gets. A good cartoon gives them an excuse to parade their feelings of moral superiority in 140 characters or less, scrawled on the toilet door of social media where every other humourless halfwit who’s seen the cartoon and felt offended too can join in.Well, I don’t twit, and I don’t face, so most of the time I’m blissfully unaware of all the howls of outrage and indignation directed at me in response to my cartoons — but not always.
Two years ago I realised that sometimes I really do have to worry about whether people think my cartoons are funny when I discovered that bloodthirsty barbarians aren’t immune to political correctness and their delicate sensibilities are just as easily offended as those of any precious little snowflake you’ll find in a gender studies faculty at a university. And for your average Islamist terrorist, firing off a few impassioned obscenities on a Twitter feed is no substitute for the sort of satisfaction you can get by hunting down the person who’s offended you and chopping his head off.
Then, in October last year I realised there’s another group of people who are just as capable of making life hell for me if they fail to be amused by my wit and artistry. It’s just my luck that causing offence has been made an offence at the same time that taking offence has become fashionable. So now there’s a mob that won’t only punish you if your cartoon offends them, they’ll punish you if it’s offended someone else.
They may be a little less murderous than your Islamist terrorists, but they’re no less unhinged and dangerous. They’re also driven by the same authoritarian impulse to silence anyone who transgresses against the unwritten laws of political correctness.
I’m talking about the thought police at that rogue totalitarian outfit, the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Well, bugger them, too. Thank goodness for deplorables like you, that’s all I can say. I knew I was in the company of fellow subversives, dissidents and weirdos when I opened my remarks with a potentially explosive “ladies and gentlemen” and no one complained.Now, there are a few deplorables worthy of honourable mention, and they don’t come much more deplorable than my editor-in-chief at The Australian, Paul Whittaker. Soon after the Ministry of Truth sooled its goon squad on to me in October I went to a meeting in his office to find out just how much trouble I was in, how much trouble I’d caused for the newspaper, and what we were going to do about it. Paul understood that the HRC’s attack on me was an attack on freedom of speech. There is no greater champion of truth, justice and the Australian way than the Clark Kent of newspapers, Paul Whittaker.It was also at that meeting where I met, via conference phone, the brilliant, the heroic, The Australian’s Australian of the Year, Tony Morris QC. Tony is a passionate believer in freedom of speech and Australia’s most fearsome warrior in the war on idiocy. And another hero in the fight for freedom of speech that I can’t thank enough for coming — with Tony — from Brisbane tonight is Calum Thwaites, everybody.
Now, a workplace as dangerous as a cartoonist’s studio is no place for wimps and I’d like to thank my incredibly supportive editors John Lehmann and Michelle Gunn. One of them identifies as male and the other as female but I’m buggered if I can work out which one’s got the biggest balls.
Next I’d like to thank our MC for the night, one of my former editors on the Oz and one of my dearest friends, Nick Cater. If one of my cartoons makes you think I’m an extremely clever, funny man, the chances are it’s one that Nick has helped me with. In fact he often helps me so much that, if there was any justice, the Tweety Birds and the Facebookworms would be calling for his head and not mine. If Nick could draw, half the time all I’d have to do is the colouring in.If one of my cartoons makes you think I’m a master draftsman or a master illustrator, chances are that would be one that my son Johannes has helped me with. And I don’t only want to thank Hannes for so often pointing out what’s wrong with the drawings, I want to thank him for all those times when he points out what’s wrong with the words in the captions too.
Now, not only should I thank my amazing, beautiful wife, Goong, we all should. It’s not often you go to a book launch and then find yourself, weeks later, still talking excitedly to all your friends about the finger food. When you do, you’ll probably also find yourself thinking about just how much of a lucky bastard I am. Thank you, Goong!
Next I want to thank the Great White shark of Sydney’s intellectual aquarium, Greg Lindsay. Only a few years ago I was too scared to so much as dip a toe into the water. Then, one night, Nick Cater pushed me in and, in defiance of everything Fred Pawle had ever told me to expect, Greg didn’t eat me. And not only did he let me live; he gave me swimming lessons.
Bill Leak wrote his last public speech for the launch of his new book, Trigger Warning, which he delivered at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney on Wednesday night. He delivered most of it before he was interrupted by a surprise guest, Barry Humphries’ politically incorrect alter ego Sir Les Patterson. This is an edited version of the speech.
He also had this to say, just a few months ago for his National Press Club address >>>>
A thousand wordsHumour is not a feature one normally associates with a National Press Club address. I was surprised and somewhat humbled therefore when Professor Marcia Langton chose to mention one of my cartoons last month, albeit in a not entirely complimentary fashion.
|The Offending Cartoon|
In a brief but scathing critique she dismissed it on the grounds that it was ‘not satire’, was ‘quite ugly’ and ‘not helpful’. She then rattled off a long list of statistics detailing the shocking levels of domestic violence towards aboriginal women and children, proving that while my cartoon may not have met her Eminence’s high standards for satire, it did at least tell the truth.I drew a dissolute aboriginal father whose level of concern for his own son’s wellbeing was revealed by his inability to remember the boy’s name.
I was immediately condemned as a racist by the usual crowd of silly buggers and accused of fabricating a negative stereotype of aboriginal manhood.
Indignant male indigenes and their families started furiously sharing their experiences of fatherhood and their family happy snaps under the #IndigenousDads hashtag in a Twitter campaign intended to show me what happy, healthy aboriginal families look like.
Based as it was on the misplaced assumption I’d be a Twitter man, the whole thing was a bit of a fizzer. Besides, among the photos on the wall here in my workroom, there are quite a few of my aboriginal friends, smiling for the camera with their parents and kids. For goodness’ sake, I know what happy, healthy aboriginal families look like.And I’m sure Professor Langton does too, but the picture she painted of the dysfunctional ones, backed up with facts and figures, ........
...made the negligent father in my cartoon look like Father Christmas.
Jacinta Price and Josephine Cashman addressed the National Press Club that day, too. I suspect Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane wasn’t paying attention. Otherwise they’d surely be facing a complaint by now.Speaking from direct personal experience, Ms Price revealed that ‘the number of deaths due to homicide that have impacted [her] family are in the hundreds’ and that ‘in the Northern territory alone, for many aboriginal families, this number is in the thousands’.My cartoon only hinted at the truth about the appalling levels of violence endured by aboriginal women and children, but within minutes of clapping eyes on it, Commissioner Soutphommasane was all over social media urging people to lodge complaints against me with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Yet, although Professor Langton, Ms Price and Ms Cashman didn’t just hint at the same uncomfortable truths, but spoke about them in graphic, excruciating detail, we haven’t heard a peep out of him.And thank God for that.And thank God there are indigenous women brave enough to tell the truth because there’s no point in whitefellas like me even trying to.My cartoon triggered not one, but two debates: one on aboriginal policy and another on freedom of speech and the way section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is being used as a weapon to suppress it.
The disastrous outcomes in the area of aboriginal policy provide a tragic example of how badly things can go wrong when the views of an elite group claiming the moral high ground hold sway and the alternative ideas of lesser mortals are ignored.Professor Langton said the strident reaction to my now infamous cartoon exposed the ‘fault lines’ in the response of indigenous people to the violence of their men. But they weren’t the only fault lines it exposed. How about the fault lines between the good intentions of successive generations of policy makers and the diabolical consequences for the people affected by their decisions?And how about the gaping chasm between the passionate advocacy by the moral narcissists at the AHRC of the imaginary human right to never be offended and their callous indifference to the real human rights of indigenous women and children?The threat of Islamist terrorism went from being an abstract notion to a brutal reality for me when a cartoon I drew featuring Mohammed so offended the delicate sensibilities of knuckle-dragging barbarians that I was forced to move house in January last year. Now, nearly two years later, the regressive Left are still howling down anyone who speaks openly about the root causes of Islamist terrorism and accusing them of ‘Islamophobia’.
Bill was a one man army. Or perhaps the small boy plugging the hole in the dyke with his finger. His cartoons hit home: so much so that he became the target for the vicious, veneomous Lefties and society wreckers.The threat posed to our free society by the sinister forces of PC authoritarianism also made the leap from theory to reality for me in October this year, when I drew a cartoon that told the truth and found myself being persecuted by the Thought Police operating out of the Ministry of Truth. The sudden appearance of this goon squad on the scene was greeted with rapturous applause from the regressive leftists who saw it as an encouragement to heap abuse on and vilify as racists anyone who speaks openly about the suffering of aboriginal Australians.This is what happens when you try to limit free speech. It’s what happens when the very concept is so misunderstood by so many that Bill Shorten and Mark Dreyfus can score political points by sneeringly referring to freedom of speech as though it meant nothing more than the legal right to hurl abuse at strangers on the bus.You don’t fix a problem by closing your eyes and imagining it has gone away. We’ll never make progress unless we’re able to talk openly about the scourge before us.But since when have the purse-lipped misery mongers ever been interested in fixing problems? Heaven forbid – they might run out of things to wring their hands over.
He has gone to his reward but we down here will miss his efforts on behalf of all who love freedom and truth.
Raise your glasses.
See some of his work here >>> https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Bill+Leak&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3jKX-t87SAhWHKGMKHexLD0cQ_AUIBigB&biw=1027&bih=468#tbm=isch&q=bill+leak+cartoon&*&imgdii=bQuLsvlyHpcAXM:&imgrc=Hm9ay34AuCCDhM:
May perpetual light shine upon him and his drawing paper.