A government agency has been forced to back down on its demand that a cartoon depicting Uluru be removed from the Herald Sun newspaper.
Parks Australia had ordered the newspaper to delete the image which featured in a cartoon last week about the proposed Voice to Parliament.
They argued the cartoon breached media guidelines that guard sensitive and sacred sites from being depicted on television, in film and by commercial photographers without proper permits.
The cartoon, by Mark Knight, showed Nationals leader David Littleproud outside Parliament House saying “we’re under attack” with Uluru, bearing the words “Indigenous Voice to Parliament” hovering above him.
“These artworks do not have media permits and breach media guidelines,” the National Parks insisted.
“To comply with the EPBC Act, media guidelines, ICIP (Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property) laws and show respect for Anangu land and culture, we ask that you remove any artwork breaching these conditions and showing Uluru.”
But Herald Sun weekend editor, Nick Papps, lawyered up and refused to remove the cartoon.
The government agency quickly backflipped on its demands, releasing a fresh statement claiming:
“Staff sent Mr Knight an email about the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa media guidelines which was not appropriate. It isn’t a request that should have been made and we apologised for the error.”
Knight said he was “shocked” at being told to remove the cartoon which he said was “a very nice image”.
“I've drawn Uluru for all my career as a cartoonist and I've never heard of this before. I didn't know that, probably the greatest landmark of Australia, was copyrighted,” he said.