'Super Rudd' cartoon by Matthew Davidson, the Age, 2009


This is a cartoon by Matthew Davidson which shows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan dressed up as superheroes. In the background is a crumbling Wall Street and the Australian stockmarket showing cracks.

Educational value

Following in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), recession spread rapidly throughout the world's economies. The Rudd government strove to bolster the Australian economy with its stimulus package, while the Reserve Bank aggressively lowered interest rates to encourage investment. Commentators and politicians speculated on what the crisis meant for economic theory and corporate ethics. As the year drew to a close, relief about Australia avoiding a recession was tempered by fears of rising interest rates and concern about the size of the government's deficit.

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.

Matthew Davidson is a cartoonist for the Melbourne Age.

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