The cartoon the federal government didn’t want you to see… before their legal team completely backed down and dropped their threat
- Herald Sun artist Mark Knight drew a cartoon depicting Uluru above Parliament
- Mr. Knight created the cartoon to support an Indigenous Voice in Parliament
- Parks Australia sent a legal letter demanding that the newspaper remove the image.
- The organization said the post did not have permission to depict Uluru.
The federal government bizarrely ordered a political cartoon in support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament to be removed for its portrayal of Uluru.
Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight drew a cartoon for the paper which showed Uluru hovering over Canberra’s Parliament House as politicians fled in different directions.
National Party leader David Littleproud was drawn in front of the image with a speech bubble that sarcastically read: “We are under attack!”
Mr. Littleproud and Senator Jacinta Price of the Country Liberals held a press conference on Monday to state that they would not support Indigenous Voice for Parliament.
But just as the Melbourne publication published the cartoon, it received a legal letter from Parks Australia.
The organization, which is run by the federal government and administers Australia’s national parks, ordered the newspaper to remove the cartoon last Thursday for not having a permit to depict Uluru and violating media laws.
“These artworks do not have media permissions and violate media guidelines,” the letter stated.
“To comply with the EPBC Act, media guidelines, ICIP (Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property) laws and to show respect for the land and Anangu culture, we ask that you remove any artwork that violates these conditions and display Uluru” .
Knight was surprised by the legal notice, since he had drawn the sacred site before and had no idea that he needed a permit.
“I’ve drawn Uluru my entire career as a cartoonist and I’ve never heard of this before. I didn’t know that probably Australia’s biggest landmark was protected by copyright,” he said.
The leader of the nationals, David Littleproud, and the senator of the Liberal Party of the Country, Jacinta Price, declared that they would not support the Indigenous Voice in Parliament
The political cartoonist was even more flabbergasted by the fact that he had created the image to support the proposal for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the first place.
“It made me feel like I had done something wrong. I thought she was a very pretty picture and ironically, they asked me to take it down,” Knight said.
“The cartoon was sympathetic to Voice of Parliament, and the reason I used Uluru is because Voice of Parliament came from the Uluru Declaration from the heart.”
The Herald Sun spoke to legal counsel and decided not to remove the cartoon.
Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight (pictured) was shocked when his drawing of Uluru above Parliament House resulted in the newspaper receiving a legal letter.
Parks Australia, which is part of the government’s environmental portfolio, claimed the cartoon did not have permission to depict Uluru (pictured)
Parks Australia responded by referring the document to a set of media guidelines which explained that all organisations, businesses and artists needed a permit to use or depict Uluru for commercial purposes.
This rule is posted on the organization’s website and can be omitted by a manager if it is deemed to be the ‘news of the day’.
Parks Australia enforces this for ‘protect the Anangu against the inappropriate use and benefits to others from the commercialization of their Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property’.
However, the organization changed its position on the matter on Saturday and issued an apology to Mr. Knight.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Parks Australia for comment.
Senator Price criticized the Indigenous Voice proposal to Parliament on Monday.
‘We have to stop dividing this nation along racial lines. We will not support a failed model,’ he said.
‘It is not racist to disagree with a proposal… that lacks details and divides us along racial lines.
“Yes, there is goodwill, there is immense goodwill from Indigenous Australians in this country… what we need now are practical steps, not an idea that lacks complete and utter detail and is based on emotional blackmail.”