Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Karl du Fresne: Cartoonists need to realise they too could one day be at risk from the stiflers of free speech

The Wairarapa Times-Age published the cartoon [below] yesterday. I wrote the following letter in response, which the paper published this morning.

Shaun Yeo’s cartoon depicts a sulky-looking Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker, leaving New Zealand in a huff after a violent mob prevented her from speaking in Auckland on Saturday.

It’s a “good riddance” cartoon. The caption reads: “We will respect your right to free speech … if you will respect our right not to listen.”

This is nonsensical. No one challenged people’s right not to listen to Parker. People could choose not to listen to her by simply staying away.

That’s not what the noisy rabble in Auckland did. They were determined to ensure that no one was allowed to hear what Parker had to say.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act doesn’t only guarantee freedom to speak. It also upholds people’s right to hear opinions “of any kind in any form”.

That right was denied to New Zealanders on Saturday, and what makes it worse is that the police stood by and did nothing. They didn’t even arrest the person who poured tomato juice over Parker – a clear case of assault witnessed by everyone who saw the TV news.

Not only is Yeoh’s cartoon a perverse distortion of what happened at Albert Park, but he should pause to reflect on the fact that all cartoonists depend on the right to free speech.

Regardless of what he thinks about Parker’s opinions, he should be alarmed at the denial of her right to express herself. All it takes is a change of the political wind for his own right to be threatened.

Incidentally, I don’t regard myself as a Parker supporter. How could I be, when I’m not allowed to hear what she wanted to say?

Karl du Fresne, a freelance journalist, is the former editor of The Dominion newspaper. He blogs at


Unknown said...

Karl - use your computer go via YouTube and search Kellie-Jay Ken-Minshull and you will find video data of this Lady, who has since 2015 been speaking out, particularly in England, about the undermining of Women, especially driven by Left Leaning persona including the Gay Community.
You will hear her speak out on how the British Police have interviewed, several times, due to Her "supposed breach of (English) Hate Speech Laws", the intimidation and threats (from) by those "who do not agree with her, or want her to speak on the issues that concern her (and other Women, who have joined her cause)". She will also related how the American Management of Social Media Platforms have excluded her, because she "Breached (their) Community Standards (this is no joke People).
Since her return to England, Kellie has given several interviews with MSM in England, and I take it from her comments, NZ no longer appeals to her.
Karl it may also interest you, that the "incident" in Auckland, Saturday 25th March, has had an International Reverberation, that has not gained any Kudos, for this Country.
If I was A tourist, thinking of travelling here, I would change my Travel Plans.

EP said...

Well said Karl. That's you told Shaun Yeo.

Anonymous said...

A government that not only allows this to happen but condones it by verbal support and attendance of Ministers of the Parliament is not worthy to be a government. Chris Hipkins is looking shakier by the day and he will double down until he looks ridiculous. Labour are toast.

Robert Arthur said...

The cartoon is typical of many modern ones. The cartoonists have some basic sketching ability but minimal grasp of situations and inadequately developed sense of irony. There was one in the Herald depictng KjK as a Trojan Horse for right wing extremeists. But she was not willingly aiding them, and especially after her Australian experience. The fact that she had been hijacked could have been depicted in several comic ways. Traditonal now outlawed pre PC cartoonists like Tremain would have had no problem.

Anonymous said...

I don’t blame Parker for being so unimpressed by NZ. I am too but the look on my face is even less impressed.