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9 June 2005

Canberra visitors to the National Museum of Australia's exhibition of the best political cartoons of 2004, Behind the Lines, have a strong preference for those featuring the fall of Mark Latham.

The two leading cartoons in the contest for the People's Choice award during the Canberra exhibition - by The Australian'sBill Leak and the Herald Sun's Mark Knight- focus on the former Labor leader. The third contender, a cartoon by The Australian's Jon Kudelka, features another of the year's big stories: the war in Iraq.

Visitors have only a few days to cast a vote for their favourite, as the free exhibition in the Nation Focus Gallery closes on Monday, 13 June.

More than 21,000 people have visited Behind the Lines since it opened at the Museum in late March.

Exhibition curator Guy Hansen said the popular annual cartooning exhibition, now in its eighth year, is a wonderful opportunity to look back on Australian political events.

'The war, free trade, the Boxing Day tsunami and the fall of Latham dominated this year's entries. It is interesting that the rejection of Latham at the polls and then his final demise has so captured the attention of cartoonists, our judges - and visitors.'

The Herald Sun's Mark Knight won both the National Museum's major award for the year, the Australian Political Humour Competition, with a $5000 prize - and the People's Choice award in Parramatta - where the cartoon exhibition debuted in February as part of the Big Laugh Comedy Festival.

Knight's winning cartoon, In Case of Emergency, showing a battered Latham glancing at a glass case containing a smiling Kim Beazley, is also in the running for the Canberra award.

The People's Choice winner in Canberra, who will be awarded a $1000 prize, will be decided on Tuesday.

Behind the Lines opens at the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia in Perth on 1 July.

For interviews, cartoons or more information please contact Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email

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