I was shocked and saddened to hear that Bill Leak (aged 61) had died on the 10th March 2017 of a "suspected" heart attack.
The reaction to his death that followed in the media both surprised and dismayed me.
The kindest words came from some of those whom Bill had caricatured and satirised the most.
While the vitriolic comments came from some quarters Bill had stood up for. It seems the man was misunderstood by many.
Those Bill worked with obviously knew him to be the good, brave and compassionate genious he was.
I came to respect his work and bravery back in 2003 at a time when the government of the day was trying to scare us all into going to war
yet again for no good reason, other than it was good for business and their opinion polls.
I wrote a letter to the editor which was published in The Weekend Australian 11-12 January, 2003, immediately below Bill's cartoon titled
'WAITING FOR GUNG-HO' and under the headline 'Be alert and alarmed: society under threat'.
It was also the fiftieth anniversary of the first production of the famous play 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett, in which two
characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives.
The play has been studied and debated for fifty years as to it's meaning, but Beckett was known to be a pacifist,
as I believe was Bill Leak.
I like to think Bill was depicting two bums waiting for Gung-Ho to go to war in IRAQ and commit war crimes,
but hoping Gung-Ho wouldn't show up.
Bill's cartoons often exposed the bad behaviour of people, whether they be aboriginal, islamic, religious or political extremists.
Bill Leak was not a racist and I hope his clever cartoons are studied, debated and appreciated
as long as Samuel Beckett's play.
What prompted me to start writing about GST and the tax system? It was almost 16 years ago, but history repeats itself it seems.
The then Prime Minister, John Howard, introduced the GST on the first of July 2000 with these words to the nation -
"This is something the country has needed for more than twenty years and we’re doing it because it is the right thing for the nation.
It will give us a fairer taxation system.
It will cut our income tax.
It will strengthen us in the world.
It will guarantee the revenue we need to support the health, education, police and other services so important for a fair society."
Do people realise that businesses have always been given back the GST they pay?
While testing new software to publish my website and blog, I discovered that my web space and email server is hosted by Amazon Web
Services in Sydney.
I thought Amazon just sold eBooks, but my ISP informed me that Amazon are also one of the biggest Cloud providers in the world and
that as my ISP's client base grew it was uneconomic for them to maintain increasingly large servers of their own, so they went with
Amazon. They sent me a link to show that I was in good company. Amazon's clients include NETFLIX, NOKIA and even ADOBE.
There was no mention of the CIA.
I discovered their involvement myself while researching my next book (Going Global).
Tiananmen Square? What about Bougainville?
I missed a lot about the Tiananmen Square massacre because I was busy not being shot at in Bougainville at the time.
The media in 1989 wasn’t like it is now.
The 30th anniversary coverage of the Tiananmen Square massacre brought home to me our hypocrisy.