'Head Prefect' cartoon by David Pope, 2006


This colour cartoon by David Pope comments on tensions within the Labor Party opposition leadership in 2006. The heading is: 'Who will be Labor's next head prefect? ... Your official office sweep!'. The cartoon features four sweep entries that link candidates for the Labor Party leadership with characters from J K Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series: 'Ron' (Kim Beazley), 'Harry' (Kevin Rudd), 'Hermione' (Julia Gillard) and 'Some girl from Hufflepuff' (Jenny Macklin). Comments appear under each character. Further information is available for this resource.

Educational value

David Pope is the editorial cartoonist for the Canberra Times. He has also been a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for the labour movement and the alternative press and his work appeared regularly in the Sun-Herald.

In 2006, with continued weak performances in preferred prime minister opinion polls, Kim Beazley's leadership of the Australian Labor Party came under increasing pressure. His main rivals were considered to be foreign-affairs spokesperson Kevin Rudd and health spokesperson Julia Gillard. On 30 November Rudd met with Beazley and announced his intention to challenge for the leadership. A ballot was held on Monday 4 December and, with 49 votes to 39, Rudd was declared the winner and leader. After the leadership results were announced, Jenny Macklin withdrew from the contest for deputy leader, which allowed Gillard to be elected unopposed to that position.

Political cartoons have a long history in Australia and remain one of the most popular forms of political commentary. Although caricatures and satirical illustrations appeared in some of Australia's earliest newspapers, it was not until the 1830s that they became a frequent and respectable feature of print media. Publications such as the Melbourne Punch, the Sydney Punch and the Bulletin featured both caricatures and cartoons, and it was through these publications that political cartoons became a popular element of the Australian press.

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