'Tax cuts' cartoon by Andrew Dyson, the Age, 2007


This is a cartoon by Andrew Dyson showing Australia as a four-legged animal with one leg sawn off. Prime Minister John Howard is holding the sawn-off leg, which has the words 'tax cuts' written on it.

Educational value

After a drawn-out waiting period, the federal election was finally called in mid-October 2007. For cartoonists, the campaign built on a range of issues that had been on the political agenda for most of the year, albeit intensified by an array of slick, highly staged media events and political spin. The Coalition seized the initiative on the first full day of election campaigning, unveiling a $34 billion tax package and putting Labor on the spot. Under the plan, all taxpayers would get a tax cut - about $20 a week for those currently on average weekly earnings from July, rising to about $35 in 2010.

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 Dyson is both a cartoonist and columnist for the Melbourne Age and the Sunday Age.

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