The Pickering Post
Thursday, 22nd February 2018

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Paul Zanetti

Paul Zanetti is a Walkley award winning syndicated cartoonist with over 30 years in the media. He blogs at



I may not like being called a bloody wog, dago, Itie bastard but I will fight for your right to call me one. Or anything else you like. 

In return I’ll call you a dumb, hick redneck skippy, draw a cartoon of you, put it on Facebook and then we’ll have a drink. Your shout. Well, you started it. 

You see, my fragile, sensitive feelings come second to my freedoms, and yours for that matter.

I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s when life was more rough and tumble. We called a spade a bloody spade. It wasn’t about intolerance because Australia opened its arms to people from all races, cultures and faiths. I’m a product of that openness and warmth, and this friendliness continues to this day, as long as it’s mutual.

When I grew up, political correctness was a futuristic nightmare, best described today as ‘A doctrine…which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.’

Today, freedoms we once enjoyed have been eroded and in some cases destroyed by the PC brigade, all too quick to take ‘offence’ at the drop of a hat, but quick to condemn or vilify anybody who doesn’t subscribe to their wooly world view. 

There’s been a lot of talk lately about free speech after the attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Everyone became ‘Charlie’, a symbol of uncompromising free speech, everyone including the hypocrites responsible for shackling free speech. 

In Australia the lightning rod for free speech is Section 18C of The Racial Discrimination Act. 

Simply put, that part of the Act says you can’t offend someone (other than in private) based on race, colour or national or ethnic origin. In other words, it’s illegal to hurt someone’s feelings. 

The next part of the Act, Section 18D, makes exceptions. You can hurt someone’s feelings publicly if it’s in cartoons, in opinion columns (fair comment), artistic works or in the public interest or if what you say is factual, or scientific, or if you believe it. 

But, someone can argue that you didn’t really believe what you said publicly, and haul you in front of the courts. That’s how ludicrous it all is. 

The Act is a convoluted attempt by others to stifle your right to say what you think just in case someone’s feelings were hurt – with someone else deciding your intent. 

As someone who was a regular target of idiots who picked on me because of my last name, and heritage, I’m proud to live in a country where you are free enough to call me whatever you like. As a kid, I didn’t run to the teacher or school principal each time it happened. Section 18C is a legal version of crying to the teacher. I handled it my own way. I drew very compromising cartoons of the idiots and stuck them up around the school corridors. Didn’t take long before they were my ‘friends’. 

The Liberal party went to the last election promising to repeal this muzzle on free speech, but Abbott decided to not keep this promise, too. He cowered to ‘community groups’ such as the Jewish and Islamic groups (and the self-titled ‘progressive’ left) who united to pressure the Abbott government to go weak at the knees. They did. 

The irony is, that religion isnt covered in The Racial Discrimination Act, so anybody can still criticise Muslims or Islam without any legal consequence, but the Jews (a race) cannot be vilified by any Muslim, or other. Let’s just take a look at what’s written in the Qur’an while we’re at it. Who’s feeling like a winnable legal stoush?

In the US free speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of The United States. We don’t have any such safeguard here. 

Larry Flynt is a grub, a pornographer and somewhat of a hero to defenders of free speech, including me.

More than just about anybody, he has defended the protection of every American’s right to say what they think. 

Flynt is the publisher of Hustler magazine, the third biggest selling porn magazine in the ‘70s and ‘80s after Penthouse and Playboy. It was the trashier of the three and lived most of its printed life in the sewer (I can say that without fear of Flynt suing me, thanks to the free speech laws Flynt championed). In one of the editions of the mag, Flynt lampooned loud mouth Christian evangelist, Jerry Falwell. 

What Flynt said about Falwell in print was crude, involving incest with Falwell’s mother in an outhouse, in a satirical full page ad. Hustler had a long record of parody ads of famous people and ‘their first time’. 

The Falwell satire was typically ludicrous. The page included the disclaimer in small print at the bottom of the page, reading "ad parody—not to be taken seriously.”

Falwell sued, anyway. 

In a long running case, Flynt eventually won under The First Amendment. His right to take the piss, poke fun at public figures is protected. 

Flynt summed it up best himself: "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I'm the worst.”

Yes, Flynt was defending himself in legal action, but it was in his act of pushing the boundaries that sparked the fight. He went to extremes to fight for and protect the right of every American to be free in what they say. He paved the way. 

Flynt was imprisoned 9 times fighting for the right to say and publish what he thought. He was also shot at outside a courtroom and remains in a wheelchair to this day. 

In protecting his First Amendment rights Flynt says, “Fighting those battles wasn’t easy. I’ve been shot and paralysed as a result of it. But freedom of speech is not freedom for the thought you love, it’s freedom for the thought you hate the most. You have to get your head around that.”

As far as expanding the First Amendment rights, Flynt says the less governmental interference, the better.

“The greatest right that any nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone. Every American feels that way. Unless they’re breaking the law, they want to be left alone.”

Charlie Hebdo carried the flame in France. Every cartoonist and journalist who died at work by the spray of bullets from cowardly, medieval ideologues brandishing Kalishnakovs were martyrs for free speech. They pushed the boundaries regardless of the consequences. 

In Australia we have very few prepared to defend free speech. 

One is cartoonist Larry Pickering. 

He did so in the 1980s with his famed ‘politically candid’ calendars where he depicted our politicians warts and all in the nuddy. As funny as they were, they pushed the limits of satire and free speech. 

Joh Bjelke Petersen wanted them banned in Queensland, where they were sold under the counter in a cover, yet displayed hanging over the front counter in all their glory in most other states. It could have been the way Larry drew Joh.

Gough Whitlam tried to sue Pickering for his depiction of a post-sacked wounded Whitlam with band-aids all over him, including on his dick. Whitlam contrived some silly argument that Pickering was inferring that he had syphilis and was wearing a band aid to cover it up. He wasn’t of course, but Gough being a QC thought he had Pickering. 

Larry said, “Well how do we know you don’t? You’ll have to drop your strides in court and prove it.”

Gough dropped the case instead.

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, Pickering chose to again push the boundaries for free speech by drawing a cartoon of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. 

Soon after, he was visited by counter terror police, late last Sunday night, telling Pickering he would have to be placed under surveillance because he’d ‘upset a few people’. 

Apparently some Muslims believe it’s ‘blasphemous’ to draw or portray Mohammed, although there are many paintings of Mohammed by Muslims themselves. 

But whatever they believe, that’s their right and freedom to believe, just so long as they don’t want to force their beliefs on us, which they seem to be very keen to do, most often at the point of a gun or a sword. 

In a free society, we should be free to ‘upset a few people’ without fear of legal or personal reprisals. As Pickering said in many of his TV and radio interviews over the past 48 hours, “If we don’t have our freedom of speech, we aren’t truly free.” 

Today in Australia, it’s the self-titled, so-called ‘progressives’ (the left) who are fighting for the removal of free speech in Australia. They are fighting to keep the muzzling Section 18C of The Racial Discrimination Act. 

Ironic, huh? 

Progressing us all backwards. 

There are many other examples of the ‘progressives’ reversing hard won freedoms by the real progressives, those who fought in actual life-risking battles for our freedoms - our military. 

Progressives are those who stand up and fight for our freedoms on the front line, not those who fight to erode our rights. 

In this country a good start for true and total free speech would be the repeal of the repressive Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. 

Free speech is 100% free, not sort of free-ish. 

And that’s coming from a wog, dago Itie. 

Did I mention it’s your shout, ya skippy redneck?


Dead right Paul, we didn't stuff this country because of being offended by something, if we got offended by something or someone we would invariably give-em the fingers and move on. Multiculturalism was well on the way here before Whitlam stole the idea and stuffed it right up. I've been called everything in my long career and returned the same comments as well and have lived to retirement age without being challenged because of my beliefs, and I didn't have to kill anyone who didn't like my beliefs.

The best parts of Human civilisation have been made possible because of Free Thinkers, Free Speakers and Writers and Free Souls. Excellent article Paul.

Well written Paul. Hear! Hear!

Did you hear the Irish joke about Paddy and Shaun? Well the problem is I can't tell you because Irish jokes are against section 18c now, particularly the ones that show how frigging stupid most Irishmen are. So here's one I can tell you. You see there is this camel fucker called Mohammed and..........Oh bugger, you've probably heard it.

Paul, I too admire the work of Larry Flynt. Hopefully I'm not treading on your toes by recommending the film, The People vs Larry Flynt. Great film, great performance from Woody Harrelson. Really worth a look.

The one that really intrigued me is at the great UK bastion of political correctness the BBC. Horrified a few years ago that Prince Harry should refer to his mate by his nickname Paki, so insulting to Pakistani people blah blah blah. They would never use such terminology, crazy when it is merely a contraction. I'm not sure if they refer to Afghanistanis or whatever they are as Afghan, but they certainly have no qualms in calling Australians Aussies.

I'm a ten pound pom. Called a pommie bastard when I first came to Australia. Can I now sue all the people who called me that? I wish I could remember their I'd make a fortune.

You're okay Cobber!

OK wog I'll buy the first round. (Spot on)

She is a shrew.

No wonder there were so many on the streets saying Je suis Charlie UTW. The Australian frightbats are very quiet now.

Paul, It's 'deigo', by the way. And you're not a 'wog'... Greeks are known as 'wogs' although you can be a 'greaser' if you like.
To be historically correct, the term 'wog' or 'wogs' came from meaning, 'Worker On Government Subsidy' and is likely to have been created in Wales where the French were brought in to help work in the coal mines.

I like Australian Women, I like Australian Grog, I do not like Australian Men, They call me greasy Wog....Slim Dusty "The New Australian Bushman"......

My experience was that one of the biggest factors in dissolving the 'skippies versus the wogs/dagos' problem (and let's not pretend there wasn't one) was the much-maligned 1960s National Service.

I can remember on more than one occasion meeting 'skippy' Nashos who came up with a comment along the lines that they'd never met a 'wog' before they'd been called up but now their best mate was one. Sharing a wet, muddy hootch while other people are shooting at you can be - and was - a great leveller.

Anyone on the Sunshine Coast know anything about this. That's all I received as an email.

A SUNSHINE Coast Open Forum is being held to discuss the proposed mosque in Maroochydore at Nambour Community Centre on the corner of James and Shearer Streets in Nambour on JANUARY 17TH FROM 2PM TO 4PM. There is no cost. Contact Pam Danson on 5400 2935 to RSVP or for more information.”

I wonder how much of an airing on TV, newspapers, social media etc. will be forthcoming from this!

"Progressives" -well, there's a misnoma.

Hats off Paul...and Larry. With 18C we are already muzzled..

I wonder if an Italian or a Greek went to live in any other European country, would they have experienced a bit or racism.

I grew up with the dago had the fruit shop the greek had the fish and chips and the lebo had the best coffee in McCann Street. My dad grew peas the Italian women were the best pea pickers up to 15 bags a day they could pick and when prices were high that was 15pounds a day,their men were on some factory floor lucky to be earning 5 pounds for the weeks work. the dagos the poles and the like earned our respect, they worked so very hard to make a life in this country. the respect we have is they are Aussies different to the handouts the current intakes get ,

Good on ya PZ