'Titanic operations' cartoon by Matt Golding, the Age, 2008


This is a cartoon by Matt Golding which shows the stern of a large ocean liner named the 'Emissions Target Titanic' riding high in the sea. On deck, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong are re-arranging the deck chairs. Text at the top of the cartoon says, 'Kevin and Penny rearrange the deckchairs, safe in the knowledge they are eliminating the threat of icebergs'.

Educational value

The debate over the government's desire to establish an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) dominated politics throughout 2009. While the complexities of the legislation and technical nature of the debate confused many, cartoonists worked hard to reveal the motivations of politicians and the consequences of inaction on climate change.

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.

Matt Golding is a freelance cartoonist based in Melbourne. Golding draws political and gag cartoons on a weekly basis for the Sunday Age, the Melbourne Times and the Melbourne Weekly Magazine.

© Education Services Australia Limited and the National Museum of Australia 2009 onwards (except where otherwise indicated).

You may view, display, print out and copy this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.