Malcolm Turnbull Says Bill Leak Isn’t Racist, Just A “Colourful” Bloke

Notoriously awful cartoonist Bill Leak has found himself another defender in his battle to draw all the racist cartoons he likes: Malcolm Turnbull.

The Prime Minister was asked on 3AW radio today if Leak was racist.

“Of course not,” Turnbull laughed. “He’s Australian.”

We’re only very slightly paraphrasing here. 

What he actually said was: “Of course not. No, look, he’s an Australian, he’s a cartoonist, he is a controversialist, that’s what he does. He is a very colourful, passionate Australian of enourmous artistic ability. Bill is a very engaging guy. He writes as colourfully and powerfully as he paints.”

So an Australian… can’t be… racist?


Leak and The Australian are currently being investigated by the Human Rights Commission for breaching 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the same section that Turnbull is softening his stance of total opposition to a possible repeal.

In the same interview with 3AW, Turnbull said he had “no plans” to amend section 18C but did “not argue” with former Nationals deputy prime minister John Anderson who said it threatened the “most basic right in democratic Australia” to speak freely.

“Nobody is suggesting that we should have any tolerance for hate speech or language that promotes racial hatred or anything of that kind,” he said.

“We are the most successful multicultural society in the world and that is built on a foundation of mutual respect and that’s something we cherish.”

Dunno where the “mutual respect” was here, but okay:

Section 18C makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity. It already exempts artistic works, scientific and academic inquiry, and fair comment on matters of public interest provided they are done reasonably and in good faith.

It’s the same section that Andrew Bolt found himself in breach of in 2009, when he wrote two articles claiming light-skinned Aboriginal people were not genuinely Aboriginal people and were merely pretending to be in order to access benefits.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has found himself at the savage end of Leak’s pen for his part in addressing wide-spread complaints about the original cartoon.

Last week Leak depicted Soutphommasane as dictator Kim Jong-Un; today, he’s a Nazi, alongside president of the HRC Gillian Triggs, also a Nazi..

Big solid congrats to Leak for managing to compare the extreme censorship of Nazi Germany to an independent body investigating whether his extremely offence and racially stereotyping cartoon was, in fact, racist. Good on ya, mate. Fucking cheers.

Photo: The Australian.