Mean, Unfunny, Bit Racist: Qld Govt Blasts One Nation Over Irwin video

From the Courier-Mail online: The Queensland government has taken aim at One Nation’s animated video over which Robert Irwin is threatening to sue for defamation.

The Queensland government has today weighed into Robert Irwin’s extraordinary threat to sue One Nation over an animated video used to slam the government.

The YouTube video, part of Senator Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain series, was posted on Friday and features cartoon versions of Irwin and Bluey.

But One Nation has sensationally told Irwin to “lighten up” and refused to take down the video, with Senator Pauline Hanson saying “Lighten up mate, your father was a larrikin”. 

The two-minute video titled The State of Queensland uses Irwin to criticise the state government over the hospital system, roads, transport, sustainable energy, the housing crisis and youth crime.

It comes two weeks after the government unveiled both Bluey and Irwin as faces of its new tourism campaign.

The Sunday Mail has seen a legal letter that Irwin’s lawyers sent to the party’s video studio, Stepmates Studios, threatening to sue them for defamation.

“We are writing to inform you that your actions constitute defamation and involve the unauthorised and deceptive use of our client’s image,” Zoe Naylor of FC Lawyers wrote.

“We demand that you immediately cease and desist using this image. We demand that you remove this video from all and any other locations it is present.

“You are potentially liable to our client in respect of defamation, deceptive use of a person’s image, passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct. We will commence legal action against you if you do not take down the video immediately.”

The letter states the video has “tarnished” Mr Irwin’s reputation and described the “unauthorised” use of his image as “particularly egregious”.

Transport Minister Bart Mellish slammed Senator Hanson’s video for a lack of humour, labelling it “mean-spirited”.

“I love political satire, but the main thing about satire is it’s actually got to be funny,” Mr Mellish said.

“The Pauline Hanson video is just a bit mean, it’s a bit mean-spirited and using Queensland icons like Robert Irwin and Bluey to try and sell a bit of a mean-spirited and a bit racist political message.

“I don’t see what the point of that is, that’s just to divide people.

“I’m a father of two young boys they love watching Bluey every day, I don’t think they would like to see Bluey in a Pauline Hanson video.

“The main point is political satire is supposed to be funny and that wasn’t funny.”

Mr Mellish said the characterisation of Irwin and Bluey was clearly an attempt to illicit a response.

“It was designed to get a response, but it could have been funnier.”

When asked about the depictions of youth crime and the condition of the Bruce Highway, Mr Mellish said Senator Hanson could be “a lot more constructive”.

“I think Pauline Hanson is touching on a few issues that people are bringing up with her,” he said.

“I don’t think there are any potholes that people can fall into and get lost and then get rescued by Bluey.

“I think Pauline Hanson could be a lot more constructive in our political discourse.”

One Nation is standing its ground, with Senator Hanson saying Mr Irwin had been given a free advertising kick by being included in her cartoon.

She told him to “get over it”.

“I’ve got members of parliament asking me when they get to be in the cartoon, we have people pay to get in it, so I’ve given him a free kick,” she said.

“And he wants to sue me over it.

“Lighten up mate, your father was a larrikin, an icon to Australia and the world and he would have had a good laugh.”

Ms Hanson said she wasn’t “having a go” at Mr Irwin and the suggestion of a lawsuit was “ridiculous”.

“How is he going to argue defamation? It’s not about him it’s about the issues in Queensland,” she said.

One Nation chief of staff and candidate for Keppel James Ashby telling Irwin to “lighten up”.

“Lighten up, Robert,” Mr Ashby said.

“Your dad knew how to take a joke.”

Opposition leader David Crisafulli called on all-involved in the Bluey scandal to sort it out.

“I’m not a big fan of censoring cartoons, but I would like to see them try to work it out,

Mr Crisafulli said.

“On the Australiana scale of full-bore Australiana clashes, it’s right up there.

“It’d be good for them to just sort it out.”

When asked if there were any truths in the video, Mr Crisafulli said: “The video mentioned the housing crisis and the health crisis - Queensland is living through it.

“But I do make the point that cartoons are cartoons.”

In the video, an animated Irwin tries to show Bluey all the positive things in Queensland, but they are met with problems along the way.

For example, Robert mistakes a line for a rental inspection at a dilapidated house in Rockhampton as a line to a Gold Coast theme park.

It also shows Irwin and Bluey about to drive off in a LandCruiser, only for it to be stolen by “juvenile delinquents”.

The video also highlights the poor condition of the Bruce Highway when Bluey falls down a pothole and is rushed to hospital.

When the pair arrive at the hospital, Irwin’s character declares “lucky the state of Queensland has a world-class medical system”, only for them to be told there’s a six-month wait.

The video also mocks Premier Steven Miles before Irwin’s now-dispirited character reflects and says “oh man, I can’t believe this is the state of Queensland.”

The video has been shared more than 1000 times on Senator Hanson’s Facebook page, and been viewed 50,000 times YouTube and 36,000 times on Facebook.

Irwin’s lawyers demanded the video be taken down across all sites and not use his image in future without written consent.

They threatened to take action in the Federal Court of Australia if their demands aren’t met by Monday afternoon.

One Nation is refusing to take the video down or meet any of the demands in the letter.

The Sunday Mail understands the party is seeking its own legal advice on the matter.

Irwin has been contacted for comment.


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  • One Nation
    published this page in News 2024-06-17 15:22:24 +1000