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Local cartoonist wins Canberra's approval

24 JUNE 2004

Geoff Pryor cartoon 'The Decision'

Canberra Times cartoonist Geoff Pryor has triumphed in his home town, winning the People's Choice award in the last week of the National Museum of Australia's Behind the Lines exhibition.

The Decision was Pryor's response to John Howard's announcement he would continue as Liberal Party leader - and shows the Prime Minister in his Sydney home - Kirribilli.

National Museum acting director Craddock Morton will present Pryor with the $1000 winner's cheque in the Behind the Lines exhibition at 10.30am today, Thursday, 24 June.

"This is a great home town victory,' Mr Morton said. 'Up against 65 other top cartoonists in this popular exhibition, Pryor is clearly a Canberra favourite. Indeed it is hard to imagine the Canberra Times without Pryor's cartoons."

More than 20,000 people have visited Behind the Lines since it opened a month ago.

The free exhibition closes this Sunday, 27 June, before travelling to Perth and Darwin.

Pryor's winning entry narrowly edged out an Andrew Weldon cartoon, Conjoined Non-Twins, depicting Mr Howard's relationship with President George Bush. This cartoon interestingly won the People's Choice award in Weldon's home town, Melbourne, where Behind the Lines was on show during the International Comedy Festival.

Third place went to Perth suburban cartoonist Greg Smith for Regime Change, showing Ronald McDonald replacing a toppled Saddam Hussein statue.

Behind the Lines curator Guy Hansen said leadership, war and Australia's relationship with the US dominated entries in the National Museum's annual political cartooning competition.

'The Prime Minister's decision to stay on as leader was a popular topic for cartoonists. Pryor's cartoon brings a uniquely Canberra perspective to the issue,' Mr Hansen said.

Leading an exclusive Behind the Lines tour at 8pm today, Pryor is being joined by another celebrated Australian cartoonist, Bruce Petty. Bookings on 02 6208 5048.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Public Affairs Director Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au