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November 7, 2016

Statement From the Australian Cartoonists Association

The Australian Cartoonists Association is concerned that the Human Rights Commission invited and is now investigating a complaint over a cartoon by Bill Leak published in The Australian. Cartoonists in Australia have enjoyed artistic freedom for many decades, which has led to a rich and diverse political cartoon culture.

While ACA members may have differing opinions over Leak’s cartoon, they recognise the value of protection of artistic freedom under Australian law and throughout the Western world. This has been unsuccessfully challenged in Australian courts numerous times. The ACA questions what effect the HRC’s actions over this particular cartoon can have on cartoonists as protected under Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The merits of any political cartoon should be openly debated in public. Questioning the very existence of cartoons, whether we agree with them or not, is not the answer.

Peter Broelman
Australian Cartoonists Association