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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2803


Senator PETER BAUME —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. It relates to a cartoon or stylised drawing which accompanied a National Times article on the Middle East of 4 May, in which a figure which can only be described as a rabbi, with a beard and dressed in rabbinical vestments, with a cloven hoof, with a sword raised above his head, with a child severed in two nearby, with bombs falling on mosques and with a crescent moon dripping blood. I ask the Minister: Is this not an outrageous misrepresentation and a religious stereotype unworthy of the National Times or any other newspaper? Will he, on behalf of this Government, deplore the use of such imagery which might be more appropriate to the League of Rights and which can serve only to promote religious hatred and division in Australia?


Senator BUTTON —I think that Senator Baume called it a cartoon. It was a sort of woodcut which appeared in the National Times of 4 May accompanying an article on the situation on the West Bank. The woodcut was drawn to my attention, although I have not read the contents of the article. I agree with the implication in Senator Baume's question that the cartoon of woodcut drawing seems to be in poor taste and I would have thought it would be contrary to the wishes of most members of this Parliament who voted for the racial discrimination legislation when it was introduced here. I think it is a source of great regret that a drawing of that kind should be published in a national journal which enjoys generally such good repute. I certainly associate myself, and I believe the Government, with criticism of the publication of a drawing of that kind.