'Tony Abbott' cartoon by David Pope, 2009


This is a cartoon by David Pope showing Tony Abbott depicted as a jack-in-the-box. His upper body is dressed in a monk's robe with a rope tie around the waist and boxing gloves on both hands. Each glove has crossed out text: on the left-hand glove, 'Workchoices' and on the right-hand glove 'Climate Denial'. Instead of legs, there is a spring emerging from a broken box labelled 'Liberal Party Room'. The box is cracked in half with a variety of parts - springs, nuts, bolts and cogs flying about.

Educational value

Faced with the Rudd government's continuing popularity, the Liberal Party failed to maintain its unity throughout 2009. Undermined by fluctuating opinion polls and the 'ute-gate' controversy, Malcolm Turnbull struggled to find traction in the electorate. By year's end the internal debate amongst Coalition members over whether to support the government's Emissions Trading Scheme legislation saw a challenge to Turnbull's leadership. Tony Abbott emerged as the new Leader of the Opposition defeating both Turnbull and Joe Hockey.

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.

David Pope is an editorial cartoonist for the Canberra Times. His work has also regularly appeared in the Sun-Herald and as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for the labour movement and alternative press.

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