Let Us Raise an Army of Leaks

leak arms crosedI met Bill Leak only a few times, the last just over three weeks ago, when he greeted me like an old friend. He had that astonishing ability to recognize faces and names and to make one feel special. I felt as if I had known him all my life. At dinner, I had the great privilege of talking with his partner, Goong, a wonderful, intelligent woman, who is experiencing a loss far beyond what the rest of us can ever imagine.

Sometimes, we can celebrate a life completed. But in the case of Bill Leak, my first reaction to the shock news was, “this is not fair. We have been cheated.” I sensed a great gaping hole had been blasted in our defence of Western civilization.

Many words of tribute, far more eloquent than I could hope to match, have already been published. What more can I add?

I have the last cartoon which Bill ever did on my table. In it, the beheaded Rob Stokes, the hapless New South Wales Minister for Education, says: “Oh, y’know- boys will be boys”. As has been said, a picture tells a thousand words. Yes, we could go on and on about how bad things are. The cartoon said it all. One thing which I took away from this last cartoon was how ineffectual politicians, from even the conservative side of politics,  were in mounting any sustained defence of Western liberal democratic  values.

The leadership in our defence has had to come from the likes of Bill Leak. This makes his loss so hard to bear.

Many words have been written on Bill and that notorious 18c, and that fatwa on him by Muslim fanatics. Why should a cartoonist face persecution from the Human Rights Commission and death threats from jihadists?

Bill might have a “mere” cartoonist. But he represented a deadly threat to the Left establishment and Islamists alike. The powers-that-be can survive hatred but not humour and ridicule. No wonder, Professor Gillian Triggs, Tim Soutphommasane and the Islamist death squads were in an unholy alliance to make Bill shut up, each of those enemies acting according to their preferred methods. The one difference between the Left establishment and Islamists was the degree of punishment to be inflicted.

Bill Leak’s opponents were not simply bullies. They had a very clear view of the threat he presented.

How do we best carry on the good fight without Bill by our side? Sometimes, we can get mad at our opponents. But too often, angry words are wasted in an echo chamber. I know. Most of what I write will only be read by those who largely agree with me. This is a problem shared by many of my fellow Quadrant writers. Increasingly, Left and Right tend to live and write in their own bubbles. On the other hand, Bill Leak, with deadly precision, pierced the enemy’s defences.

Bill’s example should inspire us all.



22 thoughts on “Let Us Raise an Army of Leaks

  • Jody says:

    And haven’t they squealed like stuck pigs ever since!! Let’s keep up the pressure. Please.

  • brian.doak@bigpond.com says:

    Well said Christopher and your struggle with the loss is so evident.

    I am not sure which of Bill’s cartoons brought on the despicable fatwa but it could have been the totally insightful one titled ‘LET US PRAY’. In that cartoon two bearded males are sitting in the clouds on thrones. The one without a turban holds up a Koran and with an accusatory expression says: “I’ve told you this needs a sequel!”. The blackbearded and turbaned one holds up a World at War headlined newspaper and says: “Fair go! I can’t return in human form to write one now can I? A man would get himself crucified!”.

    Thank you Bill leak.

  • Warty says:

    High profile individuals, like Bill Leak, may have certain advantages in the fight to secure free speech: their harassment (not a crime when directed at him) is newsworthy, and deadly when used to expose the likes of Gillian Triggs and drop-kick Tim Soutphommasane. But the rest of us can still enter the mindset opposed to tyranny: in Christopher Carr’s case by writing articles like this; in our case, by responding, by talking about the implications of s.18C, reading the readily available report on the Parliamentary HR committee and s. 18C, particularly the fascinating arguments for the retention of the legislation in its current form (Chapter 2) and by communicating our ideas and feelings about the RDA to our local reps. as I did. My federal rep. is the fledgling Julian Leeser, who supports the retention of s.18C in its current form. I asked him to explain his reasoning for his position, but haven’t received a reply.
    Our impact may not be as great, but every bit counts. We can be an army of ants (not Leaks) and weight of numbers will surely have an effect.

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    The ruling elite of ancient Rome knew that they could do as they pleased as long as they provided “bread and circuses” for the masses. The character of the masses is no different today. Having a full belly and being entertained keeps them quiet and compliant, so today’s ruling elite can pursue their interest unhindered just as their Roman counterparts did. While the vast majority of Australians enjoy a relatively easy life, the phenomenon is vividly illustrated by the program guides of TV stations. There are wall-to-wall cooking shows, “reality” programs of all descriptions, a plethora of sporting telecasts and a range of mindless sitcoms, all tailored for the lazy-of-mind masses. Educational programs of significance are rare and rate poorly.

    All that indicates unmistakably that the overwhelming majority of Australians are apathetic, ignorant and often intellectually challenged as well, which suits the elitocracy perfectly. It is these dire circumstances that allow the continuing existence of 18c and other oppressive rules and regulations go unchallenged. Just ask, if you dare, 10 people randomly on the street who is/was Bill Leak and what they think of 18c.

    • lloveday says:

      Off the BLeak topic, but ask 10 20ish year olds what 20×20 is. You’ll likely get 0 or 1 correct answers unless you ask very selectively.

    • Warty says:

      I don’t know how much of the Bill Leak memorial you watched, Bill, but one had the sense that the gauntlet has been thrown down, by replays of Bill himself, by (of all people) Malcolm Turnbull, Barry Humphrey, Paul Kelly (as much as I’ve criticised him in the past, his was particularly impressive, in his attack on the progressives and political correctness) and Paul Whitaker, the Editor in Chief of the Australian. Each and every one had something to say about political correctness, but Malcolm Turnbull made a full on verbal assault on freedom of speech and the Australian characteristic of looking another in the eye, and the quality of being Australian. I don’t know how he can back track from his exhortation, his call to arms, because that is what it seemed.
      I know you lived through a Hungary that drank its fill of the bitter cup of repression and censorship, and back in 1956, a good many Hungarians laid down their lives in the name of liberty, but things are beginning to happen here. The apathetic and the ignorant you refer to are not the ones who show symptoms of having had a gut full, and I think there are a sufficient number to begin to make a difference.

      • Jody says:

        Brilliant comments, Warty. Thank you. I, too, felt that a gauntlet had been thrown down. Paul Kelly has always been a hero; always. I’ve read his books. What he said yesterday was KEY:


        At last! An Australian (apart from Bill) telling it like it is!! At the end of the broadcast I felt some hope about change.

  • Patrick McCauley says:

    Wonderful piece Christopher Carr – with heart – thank you.

    Though taken from an old union song, I found this going through my head as I read…”I dreamed I saw Bill leak last night/ Alive as you or me/ Says I, but Bill, you’re one week dead? / I never died, says he/ I never died, says he.” … nor will he. We will build a sculpture on the ashes of the Human Rights Commission building (in Canberra/ Sydney ?) …. and we will celebrate each year the life, laughter and poetry of Bill Leak – with an annual Bill Leak Festival of Dangerous Truths .. a tribute to the Australian Larikin and free speech.

  • Jody says:

    Brilliant, brilliant memorial for Bill just finished. And some hugely wounding political commentary about the “humourless jackels” of the progressive Left and educated classes. Paul Kelly also put in the boot. Meanwhile, that hypocrite Talkbull was sitting there.

    I ask again, “where were you Turnbull?”

    • madd320 says:

      Totally agree Jody. The problem is that Turnbull doesn’t have enough nouse to understand that Bill was having a shot at him.

      • ianl says:

        > ” … Turnbull doesn’t have enough nouse to understand that Bill was having a shot at him”

        I think Waffle understood that perfectly – he’s not stupid, although he is a sneaky smartar… He is utterly, utterly vain (so ridicule is never to be acknowledged) and without a modicum of self-aware humour. He was born, or perhaps moulded, for someone such as John Cleese.

  • Jody says:

    But Talkbull stood up for that other Bill – Bill Henson – when he photographed that nymphet in the nude years ago. But nothing for Leak! How could he sit there and NOT be called out???

  • Lacebug says:

    Let me entertain you with a story that demonstrates how far the PC police have infiltrated the SMH. Until last week I wrote fluffy lifestyle feature stories for a section of the newspaper called Executive Style. A recent feature was a piss take on what not to wear to a job interview. I included a semi-humorous suggestion not to show up in your national dress. Here is the original text:

    “Believe it or not this actually happens. You may be a proud Albanian but that doesn’t mean you should roll up to the interview with a cone-shaped qeleshe on your head and a white skirt. Ditto, if you are rom Glasgow. Leave the kilt and bagpipes in the wardrobe. If your job involves finance, wear a suit. Navy or grey. And made from pure wool. How hard can it be?”

    I got a phone call from the deputy editor, a PC arsehole of the worst order (his name is Ben Judd). He began to lecture me on how it is inappropriate to all people not to wear their national dress to a job interview. I asked him if he thought someone would land a job at Macquarie bank if they turned up wearing a burkha?
    His reply? We can’t talk about that in the current political climate.

    I’m really starting to hate this country.

    • Jody says:

      Look at it this way; those who turn up in national dress are giving the employer the opportunity to put their applications in the bin. That way mainstream Australians will get the job, which include my own children. So, celebrate this unwitting discriminator as a win for the establishment in the job stakes!!!

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    W by would anyone buy the SMK

    I employ people and I shudder when someone turns up in the Aussie attire and starts telling me how well educated they are becoming.
    Or that they are from Centrelink or returning to work after a head Truman

  • Jody says:

    Apropos nothing in particular, but the reference to Centrelink:

    My son recently had a cellar hand working at his winery. He was lazy and my son dismissed him but before he left the fellow came over to my son and said, “will you sign my Centrelink form?”. My son told him to “**** off”.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Oh nothing as silly as that Jody.

    For know these people know their ‘rights at work’

    One thing you just can’t do is dissmiss then the way your son did.

    There is a formal process that needs to be followed. Your son could be liable for all sorts of s..t, if that is indeed what he did.

    I’ve come to realise that that sort of behaviour just isn’t worth the drama. So I have regimes in place. First and foremost I have a trial period for new employees. Second if I’ve misjudged someone’s character there are much more subtle, satisfying and legal machinations to encourage the miscreant to leave under his or her own steam.

    That’s much more satisfying than telling someone to crudely F off.

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    Not the point. His judgement is in question in a number of ways.
    Three in fact.

    1. He employed a lazy person. His judgement of prospective employees is suspect.
    2. He set himself up for a fall. Any advocate can be just as tenacious. If the dismissal is in anyway unfair, and if the dismissed feels aggrieved
    and finds an advocate, he’ll have a judgement against him with penalties.
    3. It is unwise to abuse someone you sack. They can become disgruntled former employees.

    • Jody says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. He’s a very successful small winemaker who already has a very big market. And he is like me; he detests BS.

      • Lacebug says:

        Jody. For what it’s worth I rather enjoy your saucy language and may even find it quite titillating at times. What is the name of your son’s winery? I’ll check it out? Is it in Orange?

  • Keith Kennelly says:

    On the contrary Jody I know exactly what I’m talking about.

    I wish you’d lift the levels here but you are always in the cellar and recently your gutter launguage has become unedifying.

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