Today Australia lost a great.
A wonderful artist. A champion of freedom. A giant of our time.
Bill Leak, the cartoonist for The Australian newspaper, died of a suspected heart attack this morning. He was 61. As a nation we are poorer for his passing.
Bill Leak stood out for one main reason: he was prepared to challenge the conventional wisdom of the day. And he did so with clarity, humour and a rare ability to identify and expose hypocrisy in an instant.
Unfortunately, his gifts may well have led to his early death. Challenge conventional wisdom and you will be hauled before the Thought Police. I know from personal experience how stressful this can be.
It is well known that the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) facilitated a direct and personal attack on Leak recently through section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. This organisation condemned him first. Then it went on to drum up complaints against him – complaints that the AHRC would ‘investigate’ – so that, I suppose, he could be condemned again.
A more blatant example of bias and prejudice is hard to conceive.
It is with some justification that Rowan Dean, a close friend of Leak, states that he has been hounded to his grave. It certainly appears to be the case.
If Bill Leak was great for his work, he was greater for fighting off the attack he faced in the last six months of his life. And the power of his defence was that it was done with laughter: laughter at the expense of those persecuting him. Laughter that was accompanied by the cheers of Australians everywhere, backing him for his fighting spirit.
The cartoon that caused Leak the trouble to start with is shown below.
After revelations of cruelty within Northern Territory detention centres led to the establishment of a royal commission, Leak wanted to make a point: addressing the problem could not be done merely by improving the jail system, but only by strengthening the family system. Leak’s clear hope was that strengthening all families – including Aboriginal ones – would prevent youth from being detained in the first place.
Yet for his troubles he was called a racist. And a bigot. Then hauled before Gillian Triggs’ Thought Police.
Leak’s response was mocking humour at its best. He simply showed the AHRC Commissars to be the empty vessels that they are.
Leak’s talent also struck a politically-correct nerve in other areas: Islam and the totalitarian nature of homosexual politics.
His work was so powerful that he was forced to move his home. He had become a target of the Islamic State. And to read the sad and hateful comments on Twitter today about Leak shows that the politically-correct frenzied mob wanted him dead as well.
Fortunately, his work will live on.
I leave you with three of my favourite Bill Leak cartoons.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him.