'Comedy festival' cartoon by Andrew Weldon, the Age, 2007


This is a cartoon by Andrew Weldon about a fictitious Howard government international comedy festival. It satirises key government policies and attitudes of the time, including the war in Iraq, climate change, David Hicks and detention centres.

Educational value

The day-to-day cut and thrust of politics provided cartoonists with a wealth of material in 2007. Major news stories included health, citizenship testing and Australia's migration policy. The deportation of Dr Mohammed Haneef and the return of David Hicks from Guantánamo Bay attracted special attention. The year came to a close with the APEC Summit in Sydney, the outbreak of equine influenza and the decision to proceed with a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania.

Political cartoons have a long history in Australia, and remain one of the most popular forms of political commentary. Though 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 the print media. Publications such as the Melbourne Punch, the Sydney Punch, the Bulletin featured both caricatures and cartoons, and it was through these publications that political cartoons became a popular element of the Australian press.

Andrew Weldon is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Australian, the Bulletin, Good Weekend and GQ.

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