He’s the lovable dad of Australia’s adored blue heeler pup Bluey, but there are claims that Bandit is actually a bully with a much darker side.

An article, which has levelled claims of bullying at Bandit, has been lambasted by Bluey fans for painting a less than favourable picture of the nation’s favourite cartoon dad. In a piece penned for The Conversation David Burton and Kate Cantrell, both lecturers at the University of Southern Queensland, ask if Bandit is a lovable larrikan ‘or just a bad dad?’

The article leads off with the line ‘Bandit Heeler is a hero’, and details everything there is to love about the character. From balancing ‘the drudgery of housework with the creative escapades of his daughters’ to ‘repurposing everyday objects and actions for imaginative play and engagement’.

But the writers claim Bandit has a ‘darker side’. And it’s intertwined with the simplistic stereotype of the Australian larrikin: “The likeable roguish male stuck between childhood and adulthood whose disrespect of authority and rough-and-ready masculinity reflects Australia’s emotional attachment to the working-class underdog,” they explain.

The article delves into the undertones of larrikinism, with its history ‘firmly rooted in Australia’s colonial literature’.

Is Bandit A Bad Dad Bluey

The writers describe Bandit as ‘the underdog who knocks authority, mocks pomposity, and regularly breaks the rules to get what he wants – even resorting to cheating when he can’t outsmart or outpace his children’.

The article even gives examples of Bandit’s larrikin behaviour – holding Bluey back from the finish line so he can win an obstacle course.

“Even Bandit’s name conjures up the small-time crimes of bushrangers, Australia’s revered outlaws who also achieved a type of perverse folk hero status,” the article explains.

There are even examples of Bandit’s bullying:

“Occasionally, however, we catch a glimpse of Bandit’s darker side, with his playful teasing of his young daughters sometimes devolving into bullying.

“In one episode, Bandit agrees to open Bingo’s ice block before repeatedly licking her frozen sweet in front of her. Afterwards, Bandit apologises to his daughter for being ‘a bit mean’.”


The article has attracted the ire of parents who have defended Bandit’s character.

“I’m sorry, this author has totally missed the brief. The most charming part of the show is the interactions between parent and child. Could not disagree more,” wrote one fan.

“Rubbish,” added another Bluey fan. “The writer clearly hasn’t watched enough episodes of Bluey. There’s considerable nuance to his character, and in general he’s pretty self-deprecating about his ‘larrikin’ character. I’ve had a lot of episodes to analyse this (many repeated). Overall, an insufficient analysis of the text and character in question. B- for this assignment, oops, ‘article’.”

What are your thoughts on the character of Bandit? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • What a load of crap. Everything is read too far into these days. Leave the show alone


  • Oh God, so tired of these people reading all this horror etc into children’s books, cartoons, movies etc. Go find something worthwhile to do for heavens sake


  • That’s a pretty deep analysis of a cartoon character. I’ll be watching with a new perspective now.


  • I just happened to watch the episode mentioned where Bandit races Bluey in a race around an obstacle course. While he did hold Bluey back in the end to win, this was after Bluey had cheated in the previous race. So i think it is all out of context. He appears to be a caring Dad who spends lots of time and has fun with his kids…but he is also human and is not always perfect


  • I think it is a storm in a teacup brought about by some reporters who want to get their name in lights. And they have managed to do so as well.


  • Now a days everyone wants to pitch in a few words and interpret everything based on limited knowledge. I wonder what the author of the character has to say.


  • I think Bandit is a great dad. He does a lot with and for his children and he even allows them to humiliate and take advantage of him on numerous occasions. He’s your typical stereotype Australian dad, who loves his kids and would do anything for them, with a lot of love to go around. I enjoy watching it with my grandchildren. I laugh and also agree there are morals and lessons to be learned in every episode. Whether it is Bluey and Bingo, or Mum and Dad learning them. It’s a great show all round.


  • What is wrong with Bandit. Yeah, he may tease the kids or show no care for authority but its ALL for a moral of the story. Every Bluey episode has a moral, shows principles, values, respect. How to deal with tough problems and disagreements.
    Bandit is definitely not a bad dad, his a fantastic Dad. And my kids would say that their Dad is like Bandit.


  • Ridiculous, taking or two actions out of context to try and generate outrage for an article, it’s a kids show!


  • I have heard so much about this show but my kids are not into Bluey thankfully


  • I haven’t watched the show but that doesn’t sound like bullying behaviour.


  • I think they have looked into too much on this one. Just leave these shows alone for kids to enjoy


  • One of the reasons I dislike this show is that the parents (mainly the dad) degrade themselves for their children. I find the dad so damn irritating, and dislike how he causes more problems and undermines his wife all the time!
    I stand behind this article, the dad and show are really bad!


  • What a load of poo. Kids actually enjoy adults mucking around with them.


  • no, Bandit is the hero, and sometimes he just slips up, like all humans!


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