This morning, The Australian’s typically controversial cartoonist Bill Leak published a cartoon depicting an Indigenous Australian juvenile being returned to his father by a police officer. The outcry has since been vitriolic on Twitter and beyond, and now The Oz has defended the cartoon.
Here’s the cartoon:
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has lodged a complaint with the Australian Press Council over the cartoon, while a number of Twitter users, high profile and not, have lambasted the move, including The Guardian’s ‘First Dog On The Moon’ cartoonist calling it “racist garbage”.
A statement from Paul Whittaker, editor-in-chief, The Australian, has been released now, and reads:
“The Australian is proud of its long-standing and detailed contribution to our national debate over the crucial issues in Indigenous affairs.
“The current controversy over juvenile detention in the Northern Territory has lifted these matters to the forefront of national attention again.
“Too often, too many people skirt around the root causes and tough issues. But not everyone.
“This week on Lateline Noel Pearson said: “Blackfellas have got to take charge and take responsibility for their own children … That part of the message really struggles to get traction.”
“In our pages Marcia Langton said: “Instead of talking about personal agency, these people talk about self-determination. It drowns out any message about personal agency.”
“Bill Leak’s confronting and insightful cartoons force people to examine the core issues in a way that sometimes reporting and analysis can fail to do.”
Here’s a bit of what the Twittersphere thinks:
The Oz should apologise unreservedly for publishing such unfair, prejudicial and racist content in their paper. pic.twitter.com/OE6ksKNlvQ
— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) August 4, 2016
— Allan Clarke (@AllanJClarke) August 4, 2016
The editor for The Australian needs to be sacked after allowing that monstrosity by Bill Leak into it!
— Daniel Voyce (@voycey) August 4, 2016
— lyn anderson (@offherchops) August 4, 2016