You will not find a new Department of Australia meme in Crikey today. Nor will we ever publish a new one again. The irreverent genius behind them, Leslie Nassar, died over the weekend after being hit by a car in the United States. He was walking two of his three young daughters to school.
Leslie was more than just a creator of clever memes (and occasional impersonator of Stephen Conroy). He was a technology whiz and a leading light at the ABC for many years (as Helen Razer’s touching obituary makes clear), but for us, he was a member of the Crikey family. I never met Leslie personally, but we spoke often. He was warm, whip-smart, professional and above all, hilarious. He spoke truth to power in a way that we all wish we could. On our very best days, we hoped to craft an edition that came close to the intelligence and humour contained his one picture and a dozen words. We will miss Leslie very much. His wisdom, his calm and his boundless creativity brightened our days, and we hope yours.
His business partner has set up a GoFundMe page to help his family in the face of their devastating loss, and if you wish to contribute, we encourage you to do so.
— Crikey editor Cassidy Knowlton
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Leslie had one of the best brains. He was politically savvy, witty, eloquent, a shit-stirrer and hilarious. He was brimming with ideas and had the technical know-how to make them happen. He also spoke about his family with such love and dedication. He was an incredible human. I’ll miss him a lot.
— Former Crikey editor Marni Cordell
Nearly every work day for the past two or so years, I’d receive an email in the morning from Leslie asking for a particular image, or series of images, from our library. From Bronwyn Bishop driving a car to Tony Abbott at the pollie pedal, Joe Hockey chatting with senior citizens and Abbott and Turnbull in question time, Leslie exposed the ridiculousness in nearly every political photo opportunity. We’ll all miss his wit and that wonderful moment when we in the Crikey bunker would eagerly open the email with a freshly filed Department of Australia inside.
— Crikey engagement editor Sophie Benjamin