The Australian slammed for ‘racist’ Bill Leak cartoon, as Press Council reveals it has received complaints

News Corp’s national broadsheet The Australian is under fire over a Bill Leak cartoon published today which appears to suggest indigenous fathers do not know the names of their own children.

The Australian Press Council told Mumbrella it had already received complaints about the cartoon which shows a policeman bringing back an indigenous juvenile to his father and telling him: “you’ll have to sit down and talk to your son about personal responsibility”.

The Leak cartoon published by The Australian.

The Leak cartoon published by The Australian.

The father responds: “Yeah righto, what’s his name then?”

The caricature, published on National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, was carried on the main commentary page of The Australian and has drawn condemnation with Bill Leak’s name trending nationally on Twitter and the likes of ABC 774 mornings host Jon Faine taking issue with the newspaper’s decision to publish it in his opening remarks.

A number of commenters online have described the cartoon as racist and implied that it might be a breach of the Australian Press Council’s guidelines on the reporting of race. Among the tweets are:

The Press Council would not comment on the number of complaints but confirmed there had been at least one.

The APC guidelines on race require publishers to “not place gratuitous emphasis on the race, religion, nationality, colour, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness, or age of an individual or group.”

It will now go through the Council’s process to assess whether it breached its rules on the reporting of race.

Comment has been sought from News Corp and The Australian about the decision to publish the cartoon.

Leak’s cartoons have previously been the centre of controversy with New Matilda noting that the cartoonist has a history of depicting aboriginals in a negative light. 


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