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March 10th 2017 print

Roger Franklin

Bill Leak and His Persecutors

The ordeal by lawfare and smear in which you, Ms Triggs and Mr Soutphommasane, immersed our greatest cartoonist was taking its toll the last time we spoke. He looked tired and a touch grey, but said he was coping and still had strength for the fight, would never stop giving the bastards stick

leak small IIAre you happy now, Gillian Triggs? And you, Tim Soutphommasane, race pimp and sinecured Labor hack, what are you saying in private about the man you abused with the full weight of the misplaced trust and budget Australians invest in your filthy Human Rights Commission? Bill Leak, the Australian cartoonist and a man worth a hundred of each of you, is dead, carried off by a heart attack at the age of 61.

How do you feel about that, you pair of trough-snouters and gold-plated apparatchiks. Are you suppressing grins? You should be because this is more than you could have expected.

You wanted to silence him, to grind the slashing blade of his humour to a dull edge with your sanctions and harassment and point-blank refusal to recognise truth, even when it bit you on the arse. And Bill bit hard and often, but not so much as  you deserved. No wonder you put so much effort into making his final months a misery. Now death has gone you one better.

It was two weeks ago in Sydney at the launch of Making Australia Right that we last spoke. Bill did the cover illustration free of charge because he cared deeply about something you don’t: liberty. Unlike the HRC’s taxpayer-funded thugs, he understood that free speech is everything, that the right to speak out, to hold and extol even unpopular views, is where all our liberties begin, every single bloody one of them.

Oh, the two of you might issue statements of regret – probably will, because filtered truth and rank hypocrisy are your stock in trade — and why not? Courtesy of Australians who pay your obscene salaries and whose speech you seek constantly to curtail, you have an entire PR department of scribblers and psalm-singers to polish your tin haloes, promote your latest bids for headlines and attention.

What will you say in those statements? That you regret Bill’s sudden death despite your “differences”? Probably, because you, President Triggs, and you, Commissioner Soutphommasane, have no honour. If there is an ounce of decency between the pair of you it could only be measured with a micrometer.

And whatever you do say, well it is a given that it will be one more “untruth” in any case, which is par for the course, as anyone who seen your lips move, Mrs Triggs, knows all too well. Given the stream of retractions and qualifications that have followed your near-every recent and evasive statement, who could expect anything more than yet another twisted and mangled narrative of self-serving shlock. You decline to get your facts straight in front of Senate Estimates, why should we expect anything that comes closer to the truth at this moment?

And you, Mr Soutphommasane, will you mention that Facebook invitation in which you solicited the complaints of social media’s howling mob. Some 700 of the programmed faithful delivered as requested, their complaints pouring in until you actually found someone – a white Aborigine living in Germany, of all places —  to serve as the cudgel in your persecution of a far better and infinitely more noble human than either of you low specimens. On cue, the ABC — the ever-reliable vanguard of the  HRC’s media auxilliary — weighed in with veiled slights and po-faced tut-tutting. But that jimmied-up complainant didn’t stay the course, withdrew her charge and the complaint went walkabout – come on, you bastards, prosecute me for saying that – and the case lapsed. But you had achieved your purpose anyway.

leak cartoonAs we all know, Leak’s cartoon, the one above that most recently bunched those  Soutphommasane panties in a wad, showed an Aboriginal policeman handing a delinquent Aboriginal child to a drunken Aboriginal father. You’ve been smart enough to bag a first-class seat and corner office aboard the grievance gravy train, Mr Soutphommasane, so you can’t be entirely stupid. Yet you professed to see only “racism” in that drawing.

Well you would see that, wouldn’t you! Because “racism”, as defined by convenience and self-aggrandizing expedience, means someone has strayed from the enforced dogma of ever-blameless victimhood. That can of beer in the father’s hand wasn’t a symbol of irresponsibility and atrocious parenting, not by your public reckoning. And the policeman, his blackness was no testament to Bill’s fair-minded and even-handed insight, not that you would admit. So you didn’t mention that the copper was as black as the kid he was holding, as black as the father who so ill-served his son.

That wouldn’t do – never! — to concede that Leak was drawing Aborigines as people, good people and bad people and at the centre of his cartoon,  a little black person to represent yet another rising and inevitable generation of dysfunction. To address the root cause for that Indigenous urchin being in police custody would have been to admit that the simplistic narrative of victimhood you have found so helpful to your bank acount and career is but a smokescreen, a foul obfuscation to conceal the grim truth and the real issues that need desperately to be addressed honestly  and fervently.

That would be the truth of Indigenous despair, but what would either of you know of truth, other than that it needs to be avoided?

At the dinner after the book launch, I sat next to Bill, whose lust for life was captivating and contagious. He talked of his time as a young man in Germany and London, of the Thai language and its bizarre locutions, of having to change address because ratbag Muslims were threatening his life. His was a mind of curiousity and passion, of wit and endless effervescence.

And he spoke, too, with a certain weariness of the ordeal by lawfare and smear in which you, Ms Triggs and Mr Soutphommasane, quite deliberately and unjustly immersed him. It had been a burden, he said when I observed he looked a touch grey and more than a little tired. But he was coping, he added, still had strength for the fight, would never stop giving the bastards stick.

Now he has been stopped, this giant of an Australian, his worth and his stature confirmed by the moral dwarfism of his persecutors.

Comments [37]

  1. Simon2808 says:

    I’m as furious about this as you are Roger, I can only hope for the demise of the HRC as pennance

  2. Doubting Thomas says:

    Thank you, Mr Franklin.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    The most hearty congratulations, Roger! Your well justified abundance of fury is oozing out of this piece. May I add that all you say is equally applicable to all the craven, spineless politicians refusing to do away with 18c. As for the irreplaceable Bill Leak, rest in peace mate, you have well and truly earned it.

  4. This is such terrible news. Yes, you wonder how much Triggs & Co contributed to his tragically early passing. Would they care ? Such a good, courageous man, would that mean anything to those people ? et nobody ever again say that what Triggs did was innocuous and just part of her job. But who will be remembered fondly in fifty or a hundred years ? Bill or the ZHRC claque ?

  5. Jody says:

    God, we’re absolutely devastated about Leak. I only found out 30 minutes ago and screamed!! I don’t want to hear one single word from those hypocritical, craven politicians from the Coalition (particularly Turnbull) who failed to support him. I want to ask them ‘WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOUR GOVERNMENT WAS PERSECUTING THIS MAN”.

    As for Gillian Triggs. She’s the reason Bill is dead. How can anybody cope with stress and authoritarianism like that? Triggs – the same individual who dumped a handicapped child into full time institutional care so she could pursue a career going after people like our beloved Bill Leak. THERE HAS TO BE A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR PEOPLE LIKE TRIGGS and anybody who supports 18C.

    My deepest sympathy to the family of Bill Leak.

    • ianl says:

      And then you go and write something like that, Jody – can’t help but agree completely, although I sighed rather than screamed.

      I read that the Twitterati sewer is acting like pigs in mud, delighting in Bill Leak’s loss (I cannot bring myself to test that). I’m reminded of the death of a John Daly about 12-13 years ago. John was a knowledgeable and veritable thorn in the side of the CAGW advocates. When he died, the academic greenies (especially in the UK) simply could not contain their glee. They recorded this in emails that eventually and unexpectedly for them found the light of day through Climategate.

      The Twitterati don’t even bother to hide their glee now. I wonder if Triggs et al will be seen to contain themselves. Brandis has already given out the most disgusting oily comment. His relief that 18C will not be tested in the High Court through Bill Leak seems evident.

    • LBLoveday says:

      My comments to The Australian and Daily Telegraph were disallowed by the moderators, but will be allowed here – I went further than you, and hoped that their passing to HELL was preceded by agonising and lengthy suffering. “Love thy neighbour” – no way, not those scum. “Forgive those that sin against you” – some sins are unforgivable.

  6. Patrick McCauley says:

    Captain, O my Capitain… relax now in the freedom with which you have made your heaven. Weave your mind with God’s and place ideas into some young larrikin hand to show us truth in brush and line for another generation … and bring down wrath on Mr soutphommasane.

  7. Patrick McCauley says:

    Captain … O my Captain …

  8. Jody says:

    I screamed because I’ve met Bill and because we cannot afford to lose an important culture warrior like that. How dull will things be now?

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    Resign you pair of mongrel bred bastards.

  10. Tezza says:

    Bill’s death is a tragedy, to which the only fitting memorial would be the removal (nor retirement) of Triggs, the removal of Soutphommasane and the rescinding of s18c.

    I hope Roger’s heart-felt criticism of those ‘unflushable turds’ can help bring that about.

    We know our current ‘Turnbull coalition’ members are not up to the task.

  11. Warty says:

    There is something about untimely death that leaves us scrabbling for answers. I watched Bill on SKY at his book launch, and his unaffected delight when Barry Humphries stormed the podium and gave his thoroughly irreverent homage. There was something childlike, almost bashful in Bill’s delighted reaction, which seemed so real and alive, and yet two days later he is no longer here.
    Three weeks ago, to the day, my brother died. He would have turned 66, but missed his birthday by five days, and he too had no idea how ill he was.
    Now, you may feel irritated, thinking that I’m hoping to ride on the back of the wave of sympathy for Bill, but my intention is more a matter of sheer mystification, that someone can be so real and here, and then totally unreachable other than in the form of memories. It presses home, in no uncertain terms, one’s own mortality and one’s own tenuous grip on life.
    Unlike Jody, I haven’t actually met Bill, but such is the power of live media, it is as though I did, and the range of emotions shown by the author of this article and the readers, many of whom I almost seem to know (I’ve read so many of their comments) are entirely proper and understandable. As for me, I feel weighed down all too soon, following Mike’s departure.
    My apologies: I felt the need to express this, but please continue to give me hell is you disagree with things I may say in the future.

    • Jody says:

      I’m so very sorry to learn about your loss, Warty. You are so right about the transience of life; we must live every day as if it was our last. Best wishes, Jody.

    • PeterPetrum says:

      Warty, I have not met Bill face to face either, but he was at Rowan Dean’s book launch as I and my wife were (she spoke to him). But I do remember seeing him across the room with his wife (he had his arm around her shoulders) and he seemed so animated and full of life, obviously well liked by all that he spoke to. I am glad that I gat to see him in the flesh, but devastated by his going. So sad, and a loss to this country at a very critical time.

  12. Jody says:

    Here’s Bill’s speech from his book launch on Wednesday night:

    “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, in order for Bill 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 why the job’s so much harder now than it was for Bill 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 Bill 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 entirely.

    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 the fun. And they do.

    Well, I don’t twit, and I don’t face, so most of the time I’m able to remain 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 or not 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 might be a little less murderous than your Islamist terrorists, but they’re no less unhinged and they’re no less dangerous. They’re also driven by the same authoritarian impulse to silence, using whatever means they have at their disposal, anyone who transgresses against the unwritten laws of political correctness. I’m talking, of course, 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.”

    • Doc S says:

      Thanks for posting the copy of Bill’s speech. His wonderful larrikin wit can be seen throughout but also the pain and stress of being hounded and hunted by the likes of terrorists and Triggs for doing no more than standing up and expressing an opinion and, because he was so much more talented than most of us, doing it with the flare and panache of a true artist, which Bill was. Just as the infamy of those who persecuted him is exposed by Roger’s powerful angry testament. Still coming to grips with his passing. Shock and sadness at his untimely death, anger and disgust at those who hounded and persecuted him till the end. Too soon was he taken from us. Vale Bill Leak, you bloody legend. We should all shed a tear at the passing of such a brilliant cartoonist, artist and indefatigable champion of free speech.

  13. Gammo says:

    Thank you Mr Franklin. I appreciate your frankness and, in the circumstances, the overt exercise of our right to speak freely. I was much saddened by the news of Bill’s death today, as many were. But, we can’t let his legacy drop away. We have to maintain the rage, to pinch a phrase from somewhere. We must stand up and protect our values despite the many who would steal them from us. Vale Bill.

  14. padraic says:

    Thanks Jody for the copy of his speech. What a decent human being. God rest his soul. I was gutted when I heard about it this morning. Condolences to his family.

  15. Jimbob says:

    The HRC – no more than the secular Grand Inquisition! The sooner this monstrosity is removed form national life the better! The cost to the nations’ spirit is far more than we can bear.

    Vale Bill Leak – may the angels laugh all the way to heaven with you.

  16. Ian MacDougall says:

    I have severe reservations about some of Bill Leak’s work, and some of the statements he made through his cartoons. But were he still alive, I would be fighting to the death for his right to say them.
    There are good laws and there are bad laws. Legal change comes about in the last analysis through civil disobedience to bad laws and through public criticism and mockery of them. And ridicule is the most devastating political weapon of all.
    My condolences to his family.

    • Jody says:

      I never had any such reservations about any of Bill’s work; from his criticism of Howard and Gillard, right through to the modern era of victimhood and identity politics. Who amongst us can saw we put ourselves on the line for our beliefs? And not a single, craven fellow cartoonists once stood up publicly for Bill; those same today who remind me about Mark Antony’s ironic comment that ‘Brutus was an honourable man”.

      I’m only hoping not to hear a word of criticism of Bill when I go to Music Appreciation and have to listen to some of the lefties. I’m worried about what I’ll say!!!

  17. mazza says:

    How has it come to this?

    When those, like Bill Leak, who are brave enough to venture forth an opinion, and are hammered by a cohort of ignorant, talentless haters of truth; we are diminished.

    When those who attempt to speak truth to power, be it by the written or spoken word, satirical cartoons or just in every day conversations with friends, are not only hounded and derided, but also physically targeted, it is beyond the pale.

    When journalists need protection and satirists have to move house; when politicians are jostled at universities; when meetings and book launches need to be cancelled; when words like ‘racist; homophobe; denier; sexist; misogynist, are hurled indiscriminately by those who wish to shut down, much needed, reasonable, debate; when our universities have negated their raison d’être it is beyond the time for our politicians to act, to protect our freedoms.

    The actions of not only the PC brigade, but also those cowards in the MSM who turn a deliberate blind eye, to the thuggery and threatening behaviour of those who cannot accept any criticism and are quick to accept offence.

    However, the most dangerous threat to our freedoms are those groups who actively search for, actively troll for, and encourage a victim mentality in some sections of our community, and then wantonly take on the role of not only ‘offence by proxy’, at the same time basking in their own self perceived, moral superiority.

    The concerted attack, by the PC brigade, on what unites us, i.e. the easy-going, laid back, tolerant, accepting and sometimes irreverent traits which are part of the Australian psyche, cannot go unchallenged. Inertia and a ’She’ll be right mate’ attitude, from us the people/voters mustn’t kick in. It is up to all of us to write to our political representatives, of whatever stripe, and also Senators of our respective parties.

  18. Jody says:

    I thought you might all be interested; today on “the Conversation”, under the item about Bill’s death, most of the posts have been ‘removed by moderator’. The reason? People have criticized the HRC and Triggs.

    Censorship is alive and well with the Left. It thrives. It is self-propagating.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Jody:
      For your information and without further comment:
      https://overland.org.au/2016/05/leakism-a-guide/

      • LBLoveday says:

        I’ll comment on the article – amongst the “evidence” Robertson uses to accuse Leak of “peddl(ing) Islamophobic views” is writing Leak “has alluded to Islamists being less evolutionary advanced”.
        Bugger alluding – I’ll state it plainly: they ARE less evolutionary advanced, on average, than other “tribes” because of their widespread practice of inbreeding and the birth defects and social ills that it spawns.

      • Jody says:

        An appalling article written by somebody who clearly sees himself as part of the elite – that group who knows all the answers, has the moral vanity, impeccable social credentials and who make the rest of the community violently ill.

        Bill was neither racist, nor homophobic nor sexist nor any other moniker which the Left desperately tries to apply to people it hates. And hating is what they do so well.

        I may have mentioned this before, but my sister worked for Qantas at Sydney airport for years. She has a vivid recollection of that morally superior Philip Adams shouting obscenties at his partner, Patrice Newell, and ordering her at the top of her voice, “Shut the damn kid up”.

        This is one and the same person who looks down his nose at the rest of us because we don’t share his exquisite credentials. He’s a vile, snobbish sleaze bag. And that’s on a good day!!

        • ianl says:

          A few years back I was waiting in the Sydney Qantas lounge with some colleagues for our NZ flight to be called. Geoffrey Robertson (yes, the sneering one) was also in the lounge, really irritated that his London flight had been delayed. So he fixed that by being loudly abusive to the woman on the entry desk.

          Nothing the leftoids do surprises me – their hypocrisy is too deep to be moderated.

      • mags of Queensland says:

        Who is Tim Robertson?

      • en passant says:

        Macd Bot,
        You are a disgrace to humanity/Neanderthals and good manners for posting that as your contribution to Bill’s memory.

        As you read Overland, might I suggest that you have no place in the decent society that frequents Quadrant?

  19. SJones says:

    I’ve not met Bill Leak but have grown to love his work and saw him on AB’s show a number of times. I watched his book launch and the AB interview this week. I’ve now heard and read the testimonies of many who called him friend. Very moving. His artwork is amazing; his daily wit and intellect will be sorely missed. I can’t imagine how grief-stricken his family must be.. Vale Bill Leak.

  20. Egil says:

    Thank you, Roger Franklin, for your robust/gloves off summing up of these truly miserable bastards at AHRC.

    “Now he has been stopped, this giant of an Australian, his worth and his stature confirmed by the moral dwarfism of his persecutors.”

    Spot on.

  21. en passant says:

    Well, whether we like it or not we have a grotesque ‘Human Rights Commission’, so why not use them at what they do best? I have formally lodged a complaint about Bill’s speech at the book launch (the one Jody posted above). Tying them in bureaucratic knots is a poor sort of revenge, but it will have to do.

  22. I know the feeling. I ran successful advertising against Whitlams Health Minister in 1975, and we won Capricornia.
    162 communist thugs rang up and abused me. My family and I had to hide out in another town for a week. I successfully defended a defamation action, because I had told the truth, the public was entitled to the facts, I had the relevant documents, and I employed a barrister who became Chief Justice of the High Court.
    Later Medicare improperly struck me off twice on orders from labor health ministers and passed an ultimately unsuccessful retrospective law against me. These are my real badges of honor.
    Being involved in discovering the cures for two fatal diseases, Amoebic Meningitis with an antibiotic and HIV with a receptor come nowhere in the scheme of things.