Nine, the publisher of the Australian Financial Review has has issued out an apology for a political cartoon published yesterday.
The cartoon depicts Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney with his daughter, the independent MP Kate Chaney, sitting on his lap as Mr Chaney offers a wad of cash to a child-like Yes campaigner, Thomas Mayo, wearing a hammer and sickle motif on his shirt.
In a apology issued Yesterday Nine said “The political advertisement about the Voice referendum placed in the newspaper today should not have run and we apologise for that.
We want to encourage a mature debate from both sides and avoid personal and or inappropriate attacks.”
The cartoon has been slammed as both racist and sexist by critics who say it muddies the ongoing debate against an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Member of the Voice Referendum Working Group Marcus Stewart told the ABC we’re better than that as a people.
“The debate where the No campaign is taking it is gutter politics, I think it is offensive to portray Aboriginal people like that in a cartoon.
I think about Thomas’s family, I think about the chairman of Wesfarmers family who have to look at that it’s disgusting, it’s horrific.
We’re better than that as a country, we’re better than that as a people.
This debate needs to be around a country and a future that we want to be and we want to belong to,” he said.
The cartoon was part of a full page advertisement from leading No vote campaigners Advance Australia.
Speaking to the ABC, No vote campaigner Warren Mundine defended the cartoon.
“It’s a straightforward cartoon were spelling out exactly what it is which is about corporate Australia spending shareholders money on this campaign.
I don’t see any racism about that and, of course, there is no sexism whatsoever in it.”