The Uluru cartoon the government didn’t want you to see…before the legal team backed down and dropped their threat
- Herald Sun artist Mark Knight drew a cartoon depicting Uluru over Parliament
- Mr Knight created the cartoon to support an Indigenous vote in parliament
- Parks Australia sent a legal letter demanding that the newspaper remove the image
- The organization said the publication was not licensed to depict Uluru
A political cartoon in support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament was bizarrely removed by the federal government due to its depiction of Uluru.
Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight drew a cartoon for the paper that showed Uluru hovering over Canberra’s parliament building as politicians fled in different directions.
Nationals Party Leader David Littleproud was drawn in the foreground of the image with a speech bubble sarcastically saying, “We’re under attack!”
Mr Littleproud and Senator Jacinta Price of the country’s Liberals held a press conference on Monday to declare it would not support the indigenous vote in parliament.
But just as the Melbourne publication published the cartoon, it was promptly hit with a legal letter from Parks Australia.
The organisation, which is run by the federal government and manages Australia’s national parks, ordered the newspaper to remove the cartoon last Thursday for not having a permit to depict Uluru and for violating media laws.
“These artworks do not have media licenses and violate media guidelines,” the letter reads.
“In order to comply with EPBC law, media guidelines, ICIP (Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property) laws, and to show respect for the land and culture of Anangu, we request that you remove any artwork that violates these terms and depicts Uluru. ‘
Mr. Knight was shocked by the legal notice as he had signed the holy place before and had no idea he needed a permit.
“I’ve been drawing Uluru all my career as a cartoonist and I’ve never heard of this. I didn’t know that probably Australia’s greatest landmark was copyrighted,” he said.
Nationals leader David Littleproud and Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Price stated they would not support the Indigenous Voice to Parliament
The political cartoonist was even more stunned by the fact that he created the image to support the proposal of an indigenous vote to parliament in the first place.
“It made me feel like I had done something wrong. I thought it was a really nice image and lo and behold, ironically I was asked to remove it,” said Mr Knight.
“The cartoon was sympathetic to the Voice to Parliament, and the reason I used Uluru is because the Voice to Parliament came from the Uluru Statement 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 over Parliament House led to the newspaper receiving a legal letter
Parks Australia, part of the government’s environmental portfolio, claimed the cartoon was not licensed to depict Uluru (pictured)
Parks Australia responded by referring the newspaper to a set of media guidelines explaining that all organisations, businesses and artists required a license to use or portray Uluru for commercial purposes.
This rule is posted on the organization’s website and can be overridden by a manager if it is deemed “news of the day.”
Parks Australia enforces this “Protect Anangu from improper use and benefit others through 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 on Monday slammed the Native vote proposal to parliament.
“We have to stop dividing this nation based on race. We will not support a failed model,” she said.
“It is not racist to disagree with a proposal… that lacks details and divides us on race.
“Yes, there is benevolence, there is tremendous benevolence from Indigenous Australians in this country… what we need now is practical action, no idea that is full and utterly detailed and based on emotional blackmail.”