This Incredibly Racist Cartoon In The Daily Telegraph Has Been Condemned Online
A comic drawn by The Daily Telegraph cartoonist Warren Brown has drawn significant criticism online for its racist depiction of critically ill asylum seekers.
The comic depicts a predatory Arab refugee chasing a distressed medical practitioner, a white woman. Standing by is Independent MP Dr Kerryn Phelps AM, who is drawn impassively reading the Medivac bill while lightly chastising the refugee to refrain “until [she has gotten] the bill passed”.
It's incomparably foul. Not only depicting us as savage, but also implicitly arguing that refugees—the brown, swarthy, Muslim types anyway—*deserve* to be tortured and detained, and not given the medical aid they desperately need because they'll attack white women if let in.
— Omar Sakr (@OmarjSakr) February 11, 2019
The bill in question concerns medical treatment for asylum seekers in offshore detention. It is intended to give the doctors attending critically ill people the power to decide whether their patients are transferred to Australia for treatment.
Though it passed the Senate in December with Labor support, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has voiced opposition to the bill, which he considers to be a threat to national security.
In an apparent response to such concerns, Labor is attempting to make further changes to the bill. These amendments include widening the grounds upon which politicians can refuse a transfer, pushing back the Immigration Minister’s deadline to respond to a transfer request, and restricting the bill to people who are already in offshore detention, excluding new arrivals.
However, Morrison has indicated that no amount of compromise will cause him to support it.
“There is no form of this bill that is acceptable,” he said last week via The Sydney Morning Herald. “We cannot have Australia’s borders determined by panels of medical professionals.”
@ScottMorrisonMP this disgraceful cartoon is in today’s News Limited paper, The Daily Telegraph. This is the media group that support you and your opinions on refugees. I’m sure you support this portrayal of refugees, middle eastern or Muslim men. I want to hear your opinion. pic.twitter.com/IORvfKwjDm
— Mark Berg (@shirerabbit31) February 11, 2019
The racist Daily Telegraph cartoon is an apparent reference to an article the newspaper published yesterday. In it, The Daily Telegraph reported that an asylum seeker who had been the subject of a medical transfer allegedly “groped” two nurses’ bottoms, then threatened to assault them.
Sexual assault is a serious matter, and should be handled with all due gravity and care. However, this cartoon combines the deplorable alleged behaviour of one man with racist tropes to justify denying medical help to an entire cohort of people.
Australian poet Omar Sakr blasted the publication on Twitter. “It’s the Daily Telegraph who chose to publish this supremely racist, awful image using old anti-Arab tropes. There’s no excuse for this. It’s been done too many times. They know full well what it means.”
Many others have also condemned the cartoon.
I'm not going to share the cartoon but I'm a historian of race thinking and I can tell you that many actual race scientists were less racist than it manages to be.
— Hipstorian 📚✒️ (@hpstorian) February 12, 2019
Has anyone tried to make an argument yet pretending this cartoon isn’t racist? Or are we now at the stage where mainstream media no longer bother pretending and just blithely assume they’ve got a right to openly incite as much racist hatred as they feel like?
— Andrew Bartlett (@AndrewBartlett) February 11, 2019
there is no career downside in Australia for drawing racist cartoons, this is well established now https://t.co/gPt7RAl7dJ
— Jason Wilson (@jason_a_w) February 11, 2019
Today's cartoon from @warrencartoon in the Daily Tele is a stinking, racist, turd of an image.. and very reminiscent of Julius Streicher's antisemitic imagery in 'Der Stuermer' (look it up). #FuckwhiteAustralia pic.twitter.com/gRd9oMsyV3
— Safdar Ahmed (@Safdarnama) February 11, 2019
Wow that @dailytelegraph cartoon is super racist, as well as being sexist and literally incomprehensible. I'm not sharing it because it's revolting but if you want to see it it's googleable and also probably a wallpaper in every hell
— sand pirate on break🎋🧧 (@yiduiqie) February 11, 2019
when i heard the telegraph had published a racist cartoon again i expected to be grossed out by it, but somehow this is even worse than i expected
— Zestalicious (@donleykogn) February 11, 2019
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) February 11, 2019
Another despicable effort by News Corp's – Daily Telegraph cartoonist.
— Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) February 11, 2019
In the Daily Telegraph today, some 1930s level racism of the purest kind. It does make it difficult to fathom how anyone can in conscience continue to work for News Corp. pic.twitter.com/SNkaFgWEXu
— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) February 11, 2019
As of October last year, 500 people had been transferred to Australia from offshore detention for medical treatment. Citing a health crisis, the UN has called for Australia to shut down its offshore detention centres. The UNHCR found many asylum seekers were suffering “acute” untreated health problems, both physical and mental. Twelve have died since 2014.
“I’m determined for us to find a pathway through, there are lives at stake here,” said Dr Phelps via SBS News.