Sydney Morning Herald – Column 8 (17th June 2005)
… We all love a silly sign, and they don’t get any sillier then this. “I have seen this sign regularly on my way to work for a while now, and I am wondering if any Column 8 readers could provide an explanation as to what it means” writes Ira Armstrong of Beacon Hill. “It’s on a pole near the crossing of Military Road and Belmore road, and reads ‘Free Pauline and Ken Dolls with every pink poodle purchased in 1941… Scratch My Nose’…”
The Scratch My Nose ‘Free Speech’ poster series is a direct response to the ‘Free Pauline and David’ poster series which was plastered on the streets of Sydney. In 2003, controversial politician Pauline Hanson and fellow One Nation founder David Ettridge were jailed for electoral fraud. Her supporters believed that she was vilified, denigrated, discredited and defamed simply because of her controversial political views she held. As part of this campaign to release her from jail was a poster with the message – “Free Speech. Free Pauline & David” which was plastered on the streets of Sydney.
In 2005 these posters could be still seen on telegraph poles - well and truly after the political debate about this issue had passed and with both Hanson and Ettridge released from jail. Scratch My Nose then imposed directly onto 100’s of these posters their own version of free speech – if it was ‘Free Iraq From Fat Free Yoghurt Dipped Beards’ or ‘Free Speech Impaired Oompa Loompas’. Some of these ‘Free Speech’ poster responses can be still found –faded and torn.
‘Free Speech’ was not only queried in the Column 8 article in the Sydney Morning Herald, but was also discussed on-line on artist blogs.