Face of the day **UPDATED

Dame Susan Devoy

Dame Susan Devoy

Today’s face of the day, Susan Devoy, declared a series of cartoons by Al Nisbet to be insensitive but not racist, so I expect a similar result for the cartoon by BoomSlang that Whaleoil published. In order to find the cartoon racist the Human Rights Commission would have to prove that the cartoon was about inciting racial disharmony rather than stimulating debate about a serious issue.

I wonder when her office will bother notifying our editor Cameron Slater that Whaleoil is under investigation. Astoundingly, it has been reported by other media but no contact has been made to tell us that a complaint has been made.

**UPDATE The Human Rights Commission staff must read Whaleoil because a few minutes ago ( 8.25am ) our editor received a call to tell him that they are currently investigating our cartoon and will get back to him when the investigation is completed.

29052013 OPED cartoon, Thursday, May30, Meals in schools poverty

29052013 OPED cartoon, Thursday, May30, Meals in schools poverty

The cartoons did not reach the level of racism within the commission’s inquiries and complaints process. The threshold under the law was “very high” and was about inciting racial disharmony.

“Perhaps it is not right that the threshold is that high,” but that was a matter for the Government, she said.

Asked why anyone should make a complaint about the cartoons when the threshold for what was considered racism was so high, she replied: “I ask myself that all the time.”

Here’s a thought Susan: maybe the Human Rights Commission could stop wasting everyone’s time by making the law clear. Then every Tom, Dick and Harry could stop rushing off to the HRC whenever they get offended. Before they can even lodge a complaint, make them first answer a series of questions to see if their issue is severe enough to be considered.

Here is a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for your questionnaire:

Are you offended…

A) Because the cartoon was published on a far-right hate speech blog run by a toxic sociopath?

B) Because it makes a politically incorrect point that is factual but hurts your feelings?

C) Because that meanie Cameron Slater once wrote something nasty about you and you want to get him in trouble?

D) Because you are Rawshark and you didn’t destroy him last time.

E) All of the above.

Despite that, the Human Rights Commission could still address the issue, and she encouraged people to complain to the commission, the editors of the newspapers and the Press Council.

Devoy said the editors should apologise for running the cartoons.

There was a right to freedom of expression and speech, and people could say and print what they liked even if it was offensive, but they needed to act responsibly.

“I don’t think it was OK for them to print it, I’m just saying that they’re allowed to print it,” she said.

It would not be any more acceptable if just white people were depicted.

“What we’re continuing to do is stigmatise  those families or children who live in poverty, and making the assumptions that they are overweight, that they are brown, and that they spend their money on cigarettes, pokies and gambling… and those are the myths that we need to stop and break down because it’s actually not going to improve the problem of child poverty in New Zealand,” Devoy said.


290513 The Marlborough Express Al Nisbet cartoon

290513 The Marlborough Express Al Nisbet cartoon




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