What Thinking Australians Are Thinking
Gillian Triggs has given Bill Leak a fortnight to produce evidence to show why his cartoon is not racist. I’d be more interested in hearing evidence from complainant Melissa Dinnison and Triggs showing why they think it is racist.
Julian Smith, Melbourne, Vic
Since when has the accused been required to prove his innocence? Isn’t it time the AHRC was abolished and replaced by a body that knows about human rights?
Tim Saclier, Leopold, Vic
If your report that the Australian Human Rights Commission requires Bill Leak to prove his cartoon (4/8) is not racist is correct, we have gone down the rabbit hole to a place of derangement (“Triggs rejects 18C ‘bias’ claims”, 4/11). Assertions that the cartoon is, or is not, racist are incapable of being proved.
As a result of the application of section 18C, state-enforced dogma challenges all public discussion of questions about Aboriginal Australia which is at risk of being permanently dumped down the memory hole.
That Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion joined the attack against Leak is no less concerning than the actions of the AHRC. Scullion, if he cares about Aboriginal welfare, would better spend his time preparing a submission for the removal of “offend” and “insult” from section 18C, the minimum required so we can all get back to commonsense and reason.
James Miller, Woolloomooloo, NSW
In Australian criminal courts, the accused has the right to remain silent and the burden of proof rests purely on the prosecution. Not so with the appalling section 18C. Bill Leak has two weeks to prove that he is not a racist. One cannot avoid comparisons with Middle Eastern blasphemy trials and the ancient practice of requiring people accused of witchcraft to prove they were not witches. It’s time the AHRC was abolished.
Ian McFadyen, Wynnum West, Qld
In the light of the avalanche of support for Bill Leak’s cartoon, Gillian Triggs’s tenacity in pursuing him has to be acknowledged. Unfortunately, the argument seems to be about the finer points of an imprecise and questionable section of the law rather than what most people would treat with some common sense. If the AHRC happens to find against Leak, it will have finally cemented its image as a body that has lost its raison d’etre.
Michael Schilling, Millswood, SA
The foundation of our legal system is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. So why is AHRC president Gillian Triggs putting the onus on Bill Leak to prove he was not being racist in his cartoon (4/8)?
Lindsay Dent, Campbelltown, SA
It seems to have escaped the notice of social engineers that cartoonists provide a valuable social commentary on the affairs of the nation. They put would-be social authoritarians under public scrutiny.
G. R. Ryan, Caravonica, Qld