Leunig Is At It Again, And Nobody Knows What “It” Is

Leunig, retire please.


Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Michael Leunig, Fairfax’s veteran cartoonist and Australia’s most whimsical anti-vaxxer is back with another exciting take on marriage equality and LGBTIQ rights. And that take, my friends, is nonsense.

In this recent cartoon, Leunig seems to be commenting on both the recent win by marriage equality supporters in the postal survey debacle, and also the response to his previous, widely derided cartoon, which was received ‘very badly’ by critics and Twitter. And for some reason, he has devoted his space on one of Australia’s national broadsheets to make the highly tumultuous debate around queer rights… all about him. And nobody knows why.

The cartoon seems to mirror the perspective held by many vocal members of the No campaign that the advocacy of the queer community for equal marriage rights in Australia is somehow a bullying tactic. They like to think the Yes team is a mean and fabulous gang set out to oppress anyone who simply wants to hold on to their outdated opinions in peace. Except this cartoon focuses purely on one aggrieved perspective.

It’s weird for the people who currently possess the rights to marry to accuse the people who are disenfranchised of that same right, of being bullies. And it’s doubly weird for someone with a national, widely-read cartoon platform to take the stance of being a victim.

Not only is it a baffling and bad point of view to take, the cartoon itself is not great. Political cartoons are something of an acquired taste, often taking the form of a kind of stone-aged proto-meme without a joke, but Leunig’s recent efforts seem unnecessarily cryptic. Plus, somehow the little ditty in the cartoon can be sung perfectly to the tune of Guns N’ Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, which only adds to the general miasma of mystery and weirdness.

If the cartoon was an odd plea for clemency after the negative feedback to his last effort, he has unfortunately failed again, because the response has definitely been more brutal.

But perhaps people are being cruel, and there’s a simple explanation: