go to content

Barry Humphries Draws Huge Laughs With Joke About “Funeral” For The Human Rights Commission At Leak Memorial

The prime minister said one of Bill Leak's most controversial cartoon's united Australians in "freedom".

Posted on

The crowd at late cartoonist Bill Leak's memorial on Friday erupted into applause and laughter when comedian Barry Humphries said he would like to attend the "funeral" of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Humphries delivered one of the speeches at Leak's memorial on Friday afternoon at Sydney's Town Hall, starting with a joke about having to attend memorials.

"I hate really talking at memorial services, I suppose the only one I would ever enjoy would be the funeral of the Human Rights Commission," Humphries said, to the cheers of the crowd.

Invited guests to Leak memorial have started arriving: Ross Cameron, Nick Cater, Simon Benson, Daisey Cousens, Peter Dutton, Leigh Sales.

Some of the others here: Craig Kelly, David Leyonhjelm, Richard Fidler, Malcolm Roberts, Wendy Harmer

In the last few months of his life, Leak was locked in a bitter fight with the AHRC, and especially president Gillian Triggs, after some of his cartoons drew complaints from Indigenous Australians.

At the front desk of Friday's memorial, among the tribute books for the highly decorated cartoonist, someone had placed a wanted poster for Triggs and race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane.

On desk at the entry someone has put a laminated WANTED poster of Triggs and Soutphommasane for the "untimely death… https://t.co/GuS7tpKZPY

"WANTED FOR: The untimely death of Bill Leak and other crimes against Western Civilisation," read the laminated sign.

At the memorial, The Australian's editor-at-large Paul Kelly acknowledged that "Bill offended many Indigenous Australians, but he was correct", while prime minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the cartoon.

Paul Kelly: "(In Bill Leak) the spirit of Australia met the spirit of Enlightenment"

"In recent times he was accused of racism because of a cartoon. Because of a cartoon!" Turnbull said solemnly.

"A cartoon that united Australians, united them in defence of freedom, freedom to draw it, freedom to agree with it, freedom to disagree with it."

"Political correctness did not silence Bill any more than terrorists did."

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.