'Right, lets kick some wheels' cartoon by Paul Batey, Daily Flute, 2007

Description

This is a cartoon by Paul Batey depicting Prime Minister John Howard crossing off a list of ideas that will help get him re-elected. Already crossed out are more conventional tactics such as 'blame the states'; yet to be crossed out are more radical measures such as 'outlaw the disabled'.

Educational value

Much of 2007 was marked by speculation as to when the federal election would be called. Keeping a close watch on the opinion polls, both major parties jockeyed for positions in marginal seats. The significant budget surplus underwrote many election promises. Labor's tactic of installing celebrity candidates in marginal seats was cause for comment, as was the federal government's takeover of the state-run Mersey Hospital in Tasmania.

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.

Paul Batey is a freelance cartoonist and a blogger at the Daily Flute.

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