Skip to content

Cartoons are a highly visual medium and, as part of the Museum's ongoing commitment to improving the accessibility of our website, we write detailed 'alt' tags for each of the cartoons in the online version of Behind the Lines 2008. This year we have created a text-only page that brings together these 'alt' tags on one page. We welcome your feedback on this approach to online exhibitions.

On the morning of 25 November 2007, Australia woke to a new federal government and a new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The change in leadership introduced a range of new faces for cartoonists to tackle, but also left many pondering the fate of John Howard who met his political end by losing not only the election but also his seat in the electorate of Bennelong.

The sun came up after all ...
Jon Kudelka
The Australian, 15 February 2008

John Howard walks along a footpath, wearing his tracksuit. A fence borders the footpath; beyond it are the silhouettes of houses and other buildings. In the distance the morning sun is rising above the buildings. At the top of the image is written ‘The morning after ...’. John Howard is thinking ‘What do you know? The sun came up after all ...’.

I miss John Howard!!
Fiona Katauskas
New Matilda, 12 January 2008

Four people at a bar. A man and women sit to the right of the image, holding drinks. A woman sits at the left of the image, crying with her head in her hands. She is saying, ‘I miss John Howard!!’ A man on her right is saying to the other two people, ‘It’s alright — she’s a cartoonist ...’. In the top left of the image is written ‘Early 2008 ...’.

The coalition backbench
Mark Knight
Herald Sun, 27 February 2008

An airport waiting lounge. Brendan Nelson sits on a bench seat in the foreground; Alexander Downer and Phillip Ruddock sit on bench seats in the background. Peter Costello lies on the seat next to Mr Downer, looking dejected. Mark Vaile sleeps next to Mr Ruddock, with his hat covering his face. An airliner docked at a departure gate is visible through the window in the background.

Janette leaves her fingernails
Vince O’Farrell
Illawarra Mercury, 1 December 2007

The entrance hallway of Kirribilli House. Kevin Rudd stands in the image top centre, talking on a cordless telephone. In front of him on the floor are long lines curving in from the right of the image and straightening up to disappear out the front door to the left. Fragments are scattered along the lines. An ornate table holding a bowl of flowers is in the top right corner of the image. Mr Rudd is saying ‘John ... it’s Kevin at Kirribilli ... Janette left her fingernails behind ...’.

Costello garage sale
Andrew Dyson
The Age, 12 December 2007

Peter Costello, in a blue t-shirt, behind a table upon which are three boxes. The left box contains school clothing, a cricket bat, knife and martial arts nunchakus. The middle box contains a crown, sceptre and royal robe. The right box contains a Superman costume and a Captain Marvel comic. Behind Mr Costello is a red banner with ‘Garbage Sale’ on it. The ‘b’ in ‘garbage’ has been almost rubbed out so that the word looks like ‘garage’.

Lost Abbott
Rocco Fazzari
Sydney Morning Herald, 26 February 2008

Tony Abbott sits on a large rock in the middle foreground. He wears a monk’s habit and purple tights covered in white stars. On his right foot is a sneaker shoe, on his left foot is a sandal. He holds a pole in his right hand. A banner hangs from the top; on the banner is John Howard with a stern face. A grassy slope in the background rises up to the shadowy silhouette of a city.

Geoff Pryor
Canberra Times, 19 January 2008

John Howard is slumped in a large lounge chair, toward the right of the image. He is unshaven and untidily dressed in shirt and shorts. He is barefoot. To the left of the image is Janette Howard, with a vacuum cleaner. She wears a dark skirt, plain top and slippers. She is nudging John’s right foot with the vacuum cleaner head and saying ‘Move!’.

For cartoonists, 2008 began with the spectacle of the Australia 2020 Summit and the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other headlines included Rudd’s education revolution, the Henson photography controversy and the Haneef inquiry. On the political stage, the demise of the Australian Democrats and the troubles of the New South Wales Labor Party attracted attention. As the year continued, World Youth Day and the Beijing Olympics provided good source material for artists’ pens.

What we did at the 2020 summit
First Dog on the Moon
Crikey, 21 April 2008

A four-frame strip cartoon. The image in the first frame has the heads of a variety of animals and a Kevin Rudd balloon. A sign on the wall behind them says ‘2020 Summit registration’ with an arrow. The next frame shows the Kevin Rudd balloon at a podium facing the animal audience sitting on chairs. The text ‘Ha, Ha, Ha’ floats above their heads. Behind Kevin Rudd is a whiteboard that says ‘2020 Summit’. In the third frame the animals are standing with the Kevin Rudd balloon and a very small image of Peter Garrett. Above them all a balloon with musical notes and the text ‘From little things big things grow ...’ The last frame shows the animals hugging or shaking hands. Each frame has a text narrative.

Frame 1: ‘It was pretty exciting, everyone was there and the media and Cate and everything. We all felt really cool and important but tried not to show it.’

Frame 2: 'Kevin is a riot! We all laughed and laughed and Cate spoke really well. She is really beautiful and really smart, who’d have thought it! I don’t mean that in a mean way but you know ...'

Frame 3: ‘After a name game and some trust exercises it was talking, talking and more talking! There were ideas coming from everywhere! At dinner on Saturday night the people from the governance group did some hilarious skits and Bob Carr led us all in a singalong.’

Frame 4: ‘When it was finally over, we’d all made some new friends and learnt a lot about each other. There were tears and hugs, and we all agreed to say in touch and to do it again soon. We probably won’t but I hope we do.’

Digging in
David Pope
Canberra Times, 16 May 2008

A stark greyish landscape with range after range of hills in the background. Kevin Rudd in military camouflage fatigues is digging into rocky soil with a shovel. Next to him is a row of three gravestones. The one closest to Rudd says ‘The Russians 1989’ and beneath that is the hammer and sickle symbol. The next gravestone says ‘The British 1919’ and the third says ‘The Mughals 1709’.

Education revolution
Matt Golding
Sunday Age, 6 December 2007

A school yard scene with Kevin Rudd in short pants dangling between the rungs of the jungle gym. The rung he’s hanging onto is labelled ‘Education’. He reaches for but his arm is too short to reach the rung labelled ‘Revolution’. Julia Gillard stands with one leg up, starting to climb up after him.

Henson banned
Peter Nicholson
The Australian, 29 May 2008

Three images hanging on the wall as if in an art gallery depicting the Sesame Street characters Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and Big Bird. An older man and woman peer at them. The man says, ‘They’re right. Henson’s work should be banned, but I’m glad we came to see it.’

Clarke Inquiry in the case of Dr Mohammed Haneef
Ward O’Neill
Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2008

In the centre of the frame, out in dry field, a very large Mick Keelty sits with his feet up on a table, throwing a paper airplane. Behind him a wastepaper bin has a paper sticking out that says ‘Federal Police Haneef Debacle’. On the other side of the table, facing Keelty, Clarke sits, holding some papers and a pen. A little pennant shaped sign beside him says ‘In session’. In front of that, another sign says, ‘Clarke inquiry into the case of Dr Mohammed Haneef’. In the centre of the frame, back from the table and framed by Keelty’s legs, a head pops up from a hole in the ground, probably Kevin Andrews. On the table sits a smaller head with little arms and legs.

Democrat mushroom
Paul Zanetti, 27 June 2008

In the centre of the image is a mushroom house in a wooded background. It has a red-spotted red top, a door and two windows. A sign in front of the mushroom house says ‘Australian Democrats’. A green rubbish bin next to the house is stuffed full, the lid up, and a sign pokes out saying ‘Keeping the bastards honest’. An unseen person inside the mushroom house says, ‘Maybe we should have promised something easier to deliver, like lower fuel prices or reversing global warming ...’.

With friends like these ...
Alan Moir
Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2008

A long black, convertible limousine with the roof down fills the frame of the cartoon. The licence plate on the front of the car says ‘NSW ALP’. The car carries seven men, six dressed in black and wearing sunglasses. Kevin Rudd is jammed into the middle, dressed in a blue suit with a pink tie. Above the car floats the text ‘with friends like these ...’.

The Della family
Warren Brown
Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2008

A night-time scene with a Victorian-style house in the background and the moon seen through the branches of a leafless tree. In the foreground of the cartoon, standing in front of a spiked metal fence, are two short, fat, hulking people. The woman is blond, dressed in green soccer clothes, and has a lizard tail trailing behind her. Above their heads float the words ‘... They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Ridiculous and loopy. They’re altogether ooky. The Della family ...’ Musical notes float next to the text.

Blessed are the taxpayers
Jon Kudelka
The Australian, 30 June 2008

A Pope mobile, driving along a Sydney city street with the roof sails of the Opera House in the background, fills the centre of this cartoon. The Pope stands in the back of the vehicle holding a shepherd’s crook. His Holiness says, ‘Blessed are the taxpayers for they shall inherit the bill ’.

The great firewall of China
John Farmer
Hobart Mercury, 1 August 2008

In the centre of the image, facing the viewer, a man is depicted behind the steering wheel of a car, his hands gripping the wheel, a fastened seat belt running diagonally across his body. In the back seat the head of a small boy peeps over the back of the front seat. In a cutout frame in the upper left-hand corner of the cartoon, the boy says ‘Dad ... why did they build the great firewall of China?’ His father says, ‘That ... that was during the time of the Olympics ... to keep out the journalists ... too many China’.

Don’t forget the jam!
Reg Lynch
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2008

Two elderly people sitting at a table covered in a tablecloth upon which sit cups and a teapot. The man is holding a newspaper that says ‘Coalition plan $30 pension increase’. His head is turned to the woman. He says, ‘Just think of all those extra baked beans!’ She says, ‘And jam! Don’t forget the jam!’.

Kevin Rudd’s first act of parliament as the Prime Minister of Australia was to say ‘sorry’ to the Stolen Generations of Australia. For some cartoonists it was a historic event while others chose to portray it as a token gesture.

Sorry — the first brick
David Rowe
Australian Financial Review, 14 February 2008

A single brick, freshly laid, sits on the ground with a string level just above it. The string level is attached to a short rod in the ground at the right of the image. ‘Sorry’ is written on the brick on the three visible sides. ‘13th February’ is under ‘Sorry’ on the long side of the brick facing the viewer. A bricklayer’s trowel sits on the ground just in front of the brick. In the middle and left distance a bank of softly rendered clouds curves up toward the top left corner of the image. Grout surrounds the brick where it makes contact with the ground. Light and dark tones around the edge of the image form a gently undulating soft border.

Sorry — couldn’t be bothered
Eric Löbbecke
The Australian, 9 February 2008

Four former Australian prime ministers seated side by side, holding hands and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the letters ‘S’ ‘O’ ‘R’ ‘R’. Gough Whitlam is on the far left. Alongside him are Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. An empty seat for ‘Hon. Mr Howard’ is visible beside Keating. A sign ‘Sorry — couldn’t be bothered’ is propped on the seat. Lobbecke has signed his name with a boomerang insignia replacing the ‘o’.

Sorry, v. sorry
Simon Letch
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 January 2008

A woman in the top left wearing a pink shirt with a ‘V. Sorry’ slogan. Her interlinking hands point to the slogan. A man with a goatee beard stands at the top right and points to ‘$orRy’ printed on his white T-shirt. A woman with curled hair and pearl drop earrings is at the front left, turning to look at the man. She has ‘Sorry but’ written in copperplate style on her white T-shirt. A woman with long, straight black hair stands front right. ‘sorry’ is typed across her black T-shirt.

Nelson’s two Australias
Ron Tandberg
The Age, 14 February 2008

Two Australian landforms surrounded by a blue sea. Kevin Rudd stands smiling on the left landform, with his arms around a black man and a white man. An angry John Howard stands on the right landform. Brendan Nelson straddles both landforms with stretched legs.

The apology
David Rowe
Australian Financial Review, 16 February 2008

Malcolm Turnbull and Brendan Nelson sitting back-to-back on a stage. An Aboriginal flag forms the projected backdrop. Nelson looks downcast with his head in his hands as Turnbull twirls his thumbs and says ‘No ... seriously ... I think you handled that well’.

Sorry bandaid
Matt Davidson
Sunday Age, 23 December 2007

Kevin Rudd, wearing an olive suit and red tie, and carrying an oversized bandaid under one arm. He holds an Aboriginal flag with the other arm. The flag is disintegrating into Aboriginal customary spirit-like figurines at one end.

Compensation claims
Bruce Petty
The Age, 4 February 2008

An Aboriginal person, holding the hand of a small child and a sign saying ‘Stolen’ above a map of Australia, stands at the Compensation Claim’s desk. A white man wearing glasses and holding a book ‘Australian Accounts 1788–2008’ says ‘It appears you were fully paid at the going rate of several mirrors, some beads and an axe-head. Sorry’. A ‘History’ book lies on the desk among stationery and other material.

Aboriginal community
Andrew Dyson
The Age, 17 March 2008

An Indigenous man, wearing a stockman’s hat, white top and blue pants, and holding a glass in one hand, standing on a balcony, looking out over a town. The balcony has wooden floorboards and rails and lattice work at the top. The town is comprised mainly of rooftops in shades of salmon and brown. One small person is visible in the mid-ground and a woman wearing a yellow dress is on the street below. The surrounding area is orange up to the light blue of the horizon.

For many cartoonists, political caricature is an exacting art. A good caricature can be an excellent example of illustrative technique as well as a biting insight into a politician’s personality and political agenda. The works on display here take a satirical look at some of the core players in the Labor and Liberal camps including Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan; and Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott and Peter Costello.

Dawn of Kevin
Dan Boermans
Courier-Mail, 27 November 2007

The top three-quarters of Kevin Rudd’s head rising above the horizon. The foreground is blue and the sky above the horizon is shades of pink and purple. Rudd is visible from just above his top lip. He wears glasses and has bright yellow hair. Rays of light project up and out from the top of his head.

Australian Gothic (after Grant Wood)
Simon Schneider
Weekly Times, 28 November 2007

Colour illustration in the style of Grant Wood’s 1930 ‘American Gothic’ painting. Kevin Rudd on the left with glasses and pursed lips wearing a black coat over a white shirt and blue overalls. He holds a pitchfork in his left hand. Julia Gillard, with bright red hair and pink lipstick stands on Rudd’s right wearing a black and white dress with a mauve and cream apron, and an ‘ALP’ brooch at the neck. A white weatherboard house is in the background, with a kangaroo on the far left visible over Gillard’s shoulder.

Emperor Rudd
Ward O’Neill
Australian Financial Review, 28 March 2008

Kevin Rudd, dressed in a traditional Chinese costume in shades of green, yellow and red. He sits on a stool beside a sign which says ‘This Prime Minister is proudly brought to you by Beijing AustChina Technology’. An aeroplane marked ‘Emporer (sic) Air’ sits on a runway in the background. A sign saying ‘PM etc’ points to the runway while another arrow directs ‘PRESS etc’ behind a fence.

South Pacific tour 2008
Matt Davidson
Sunday Age, 24 August 2008

Poster-style colour illustration showing Kevin Rudd wearing dark sunglasses and a blue shirt with floral print border. He is surrounded by psychedelic-style text in bright colours. It reads ‘Rudd South Pacific Tour 2008’. Rudd wears yellow shorts and is barefoot. His arms are raised above his head and he is giving the two-fingered ‘V’ symbol.

Rudd reaches out
Greg Bakes
Sydney Morning Herald, 2008

Colour illustration parodying Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’. John Howard’s head has been painted on top of Adam’s naked reclining form. An Australian flag is draped over his nether regions. Kevin Rudd is in the centre front, wearing a suit and tie. His left arm is raised and pointing towards the convergence of Howard and God’s fingers.

Dues paid
Ian Sharpe
Canberra Times, 20 July 2008

Julia Gillard’s head and shoulders; her right hand is up and holding a piece of paper which reads ‘Reciept (sic): dues paid’. Gillard looks triumphant. She wears a green suit and gold necklace.

Wayne Swan cracks the whip
John Tiedemann
The Australian, 2008

Caricature of Wayne Swan with an oversized head. He wears a suit and tie and is cracking a whip while looming over four buildings emblazoned with bank logos.

Spiderman 08
Alan Moir
Sydney Morning Herald, May 2008

Caricature of Brendan Nelson dressed in a red and blue Spiderman costume, upside down and tangled in a web which reads ‘LIBS’.

Baby Malcolm
Paul Newman
The Australian, 26 November 2007

Malcolm Turnbull is shown lying in a blue bassinette. Turnbull has the body of a baby and is lying on his back wearing only a nappy. He holds a round blue rattle in his right hand.

To be or not to be: Costello as Hamlet
Ward O’Neill
Australian Financial Review, 1 August 2008

Peter Costello reclines on a light blue chaise lounge with his legs and arms crossed. He wears a black Shakespearean costume with tights and a white frilled collar. A skull with a tuft of hair on top, and a dagger, are on the ground near the lounge. Battlements are visible in the background.

After years of leadership speculation, Peter Costello shocked the nation by choosing not to assume leadership of the Liberal Party after the election defeat in 2007. Nevertheless, rumours of a return to the leadership continued to circulate but were finally quashed late in 2008 with the release of his much-anticipated political memoirs.

I’m no chicken
John Shakespeare
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 2008

Peter Costello as a large white chicken. He has a shiny red comb and red beak. He sits at a desk with a quill pen in his right hand/wing. On a sheet of paper he is writing ‘I’m no chicken. I’m a rooster!’ His expression is one of anger and frustration.

Costello on the couch
Matt Golding
Sunday Age, 24 August 2008

Peter Costello slumps on a couch in a lounge room. He wears a backwards baseball cap, yellow shirt and loose pants that reveal the waistband of his underwear. He holds a TV remote in his left hand. On the floor are scattered sheets of paper. The corner of a TV is in the bottom left corner of the image. A bowl of snack food sits on the couch. A doorway in the background shows another room. Mr Costello’s expression conveys boredom and inertia.

As Peter Costello slouches on the couch, he thinks ‘I probably should clean up the house ... I probably should get some direction ... even get a job ... aughh, I’ll do it when I finish the book ... I just wish the folks would get off my back about doing something!’.

Costello Memoirs
Cathy Wilcox
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 2008

Four images of Peter Costello, each in different clothing. One wears a suit, one wears a hat, check shirt and red handkerchief around its neck, one wears a floral print dress and lipstick and one wears a bright yellow skivvy. At the top of the cartoon is written ’Some extracts from Part II of the Costello Memoirs:

In the top left text, Peter Costello says, ‘The UN job was virtually mine for the taking — Kofi had winked at me one day — then they gave the gig to Ban Ki-moon...’.

In the top right text, Peter Costello says, ‘Baz Luhrmann thought I’d be perfect to play opposite Nicole Kidman in his epic Australia ... I don’t know why Hugh Jackman got the role ...’.

In the bottom left text, Peter Costello says, ‘When they announced Quentin Bryce as the next GG, I was, frankly, surprised. I thought I had what it took ...’.

In the bottom right text, Peter Costello says, ‘I’d always had my eye on the role of the yellow Wiggle. I guess it was just a case of poor timing.'

A complete and utter bard
Bill Leak
The Australian, 2008

Peter Costello in Elizabethan era pantaloons, buckle shoes and baggy-sleeved shirt. He sits on a wooden chair at a rough-hewn table, holding a quill pen in his right hand. On the table is an inkwell, wine goblet, bottle and skull ashtray that suggests John Howard. A sheet of paper sits on a writing support. On it is written ‘Canberra. Hamlet in ACT.’ Mr Costello thinks ‘To be or not to be, that is the question ...’. The text ‘A complete and utter bard’ is at the bottom of the cartoon.

Brendan Nelson’s rapid ascent to the leadership of the Liberal Party was undermined by falling opinion polls. Despite the outward show of support from many party colleagues, a leadership showdown with an ambitious Malcolm Turnbull was inevitable. After a hasty party room ballot instigated by Nelson in September, Turnbull emerged as the new leader of the party.

Planet Brendan
Bill Leak
The Australian, 2008

Colour cartoon in the style of the Jetsons. It shows Brendan Nelson piloting a green spaceship, with Jane, Judy and Elroy on board. They are flying above numerous cars on a tangle of roads below. Nelson says, ‘There’s no such thing as inflation and petrol’s always sixpence a gallon ...’. Cartoonist Bill Leak signs the cartoon ‘with apologies to Hanna-Barbera’.

Brendan Nelson policy statement
Lindsay Foyle
The Australian, 2008

Brendan Nelson standing behind a small lectern in the foreground and asking ‘Any Questions?’ Behind him looms a large wall of words and symbols, including several snakes and ladders. Many words, including ‘carbon trading’, ‘Kevin Rudd’, ‘Malcolm Turnbull’, ‘Senate’, and ‘scientific advice’ appear several times.

Captain’s log
David Pope
Canberra Times, 24 February 2008

Liberal Party members all at sea aboard a log raft. Brendan Nelson stands in the foreground looking bedraggled, with two bandaids on his forehead. A dead cat with ‘AWAs’ on the front hangs from a chain around his neck. Julie Bishop stands beside Nelson. A diary page in the top right corner reads ‘Captain’s log: Day 86 since the sinking of the “Invincible” ... The first mate and I have reluctantly agreed to the demands of the surviving crew that we eat the ship’s mascot ...’.

The baptism of Brendan
John Spooner
The Age, 26 April 2008

Brendan Nelson slips down a waterfall beside a sign which reads ‘Danger: do not swim alone’. The stream is named ‘Politics’ and crocodiles lurk on the far bank. Malcolm Turnbull rests on a tree on the near bank with his arms crossed. Peter Costello stands beside him reading a book. Further up stream, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard both sport haloes, and are about to baptise a man. They are watched by a man standing on the bank with ‘2020’ on the back of his shirt.

Admiral Nelson
David Rowe
Australian Financial Review, 2008

The text ‘Nelson 2007–?’ is in the top left. Brendan Nelson is in the foreground, with blood spurting from his right arm. He wears a naval hat and coat. A piece of paper which reads ’(L)iberal Part(y) 45 vote(s) juts from his coat. Malcolm Turnbull walks away from Nelson saying ‘No seriously ... congratulations. And you know who to call if you ever need a hand’. Turnbull carries Nelson’s severed arm on his shoulder and a piece of paper which reads ’42 vote(s)’. Julie Bishop is at Nelson’s left.

Turnbull — claws out
John Spooner
The Age, 22 May 2008

Malcolm Turnbull wearing a blue jacket, white shirt and tie. The cartoonist has exaggerated the size of Mr Turnbull’s head and chin. Mr Turnbull looks to the right of the image. He is visible from about chest level upwards and has his arms in front of him toward the bottom of the image. His hands are clasped in front of his chest; the fingers are pink and wrinkled. The upper fingers have a light brown tinge. Long sharp claws emerge from each finger. He smiles disingenuously and has on his face an expression of cunning and guile.

Brendan before the fall
Cathy Wilcox
Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2008

Pocket cartoon which reads ‘As I was walking up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there, He wasn’t there again today, The polls say he won’t go away’. It shows Brendan Nelson climbing a staircase. A man reading a paper with the headline ‘Costello leads poll’ walks down the stairs. Wilcox signs her name ‘with apologies’.

The further adventures of Brendan Nelson: double agent
Andrew Weldon
Sunday Age, 24 February 2008

Eight panel comic strip showing Brendan Nelson dressed as a double agent in trench coat and dark glasses. He visits Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam in the underground ALP headquarters.

Comic strip top left: ‘The Further Adventures of Brendan Nelson: Double Agent’ showing Nelson looking out from under dark glasses and saying ‘I’ve never voted Liberal in my life!’, beside a close up illustration of an ear with an earring.

Top right: The text ‘Deep under ALP HQ’ is at the top of the panel. Nelson, wearing a trench coat and dark glasses, climbs down wall-mounted ladder rungs and says ‘Greetings comrades’. Bob Hawke says ″Quick! Come in quietly you idiot!′ Gough Whitlam, in a wheelchair being pushed by Paul Keating, says, ‘Calm down Bob.'

Second row left: Brendan looks from under glasses and says ‘Comrade — what’s wrong? I’m nine per cent in the polls — I thought you’d be thrilled!’ Hawke says, 'You’re overdoing it! It’s too obvious!' Whitlam says, ‘Bob — the boy’s under a lot of pressure.'

Second row centre: Bob spits ‘Saying sorry! Scrapping AWAs! — Why not just sing the Internationale at party meetings?!’ to which Nelson responds ‘But ...’

Second row right: Keating says, ‘What Bob means is you’ve got to be subtle. Try to be unelectable without calling attention to yourself.' Whitlam hands Nelson a CD and says, ‘Some old Beazley press conferences — study them.'

Third row left: Nelson says, ‘I’d be better if I could just wear my earring ...’ Hawke says, ‘The frigging earring again! You’re not wearing the earring! How many conservative leaders have you seen wearing earrings?!’ Nelson says, 'Um... Maggie Thatcher’ and Hawke responds, ‘Don’t be a smart arse.'

Third row centre: Keating holds his hand to his forehead, Hawke says, 'Look, just try and act like a conservative, OK? Blanche says she saw you at the Manuka shops wearing a ‘Kevin 07’ t-shirt.' Whitlam covers both eyes with his hands and says, ‘Oh sweet Jesus’ while Nelson looks downcast.

Third row right: ‘How long till his cover is blown? Stay tuned ...’ with an image of the ear and earring at the bottom.

So you think you can lead?
Rocco Fazzari
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 March 2008

Malcolm Turnbull with an oversized head and formal attire. He is dancing in front of a smiling Nick Minchin, who is seated behind a table which is in the centre of the frame and bears the sign ‘So you think you can lead?’ Minchin is smoking a cigarette in a long, slim holder and rests his elbow on the table. A jug and glass are on top of the table. In the background there is a corrugated water tank and stand. The landscape is brown and barren.

The sharp increase in petrol prices throughout the year gave rise to concerns that global oil production had reached its peak. Many cartoonists were quick to comment on the increased price at the bowser and its impact on the Australian public. Others offered a long term glimpse into a future without fossil fuels.

You’d have used up all the oil too
Andrew Weldon
The Age, 5 July 2008

A man is swinging his small, smiling baby up in the air above his head. The baby has its arms thrown out and is smiling broadly. The man says, ‘What?! Don’t look at me that way — you’d have used up all the oil too, if you’d gotten to it first. Sheesh!’

Dinosaur cars
Paul Zanetti, 12 July 2008

In the foreground a recent model car sits on concrete blocks in the grass. Its licence plate is falling off, a sign in front of it says ‘Dinosaur’ and, in the distance, part of the another car also sits in the grass on blocks. In the background, two men in white shirts and ties carrying briefcases walk past looking towards the cars. One of them says ‘On the bright side ... in a million years it will be fossil fuel!’ Behind the men is a petrol station with the price signage displaying ‘800.9’.

Oils ain’t oils, Kevin
Peter Broelman
Sunshine Coast Daily, 24 June 2008

A dog wearing eyeglasses and a red bow tie stands on two legs with his arms behind his back. Next to him stands a boy in shorts, also wearing glasses and a Kevin 07 T-shirt. They resemble the characters Mr Peabody and Sherman, from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show in the 1950s. Behind them a complex machine is drawn on the wall. It includes a variety of dials, vials, arrows, wires, knobs, screens, meters and other parts. The words ‘Danger’ ‘OPEC’ and ‘ALP Spin’ are labels on the machine. The boy says, ‘Mr. Peabody, the time machine won’t take us back to when petrol prices were affordable.' The dog says, ‘Oils ain’t oils, Kevin.'

Can’t afford to drive it
Kiama Independent, 9 July 2008

A car with an open boot and engine bay bonnet is piled high with a range of domestic objects including clothing, golf clubs, socks, a mailbox, two umbrellas, a pillow, a school painting, a clock, family photos in frames, a potted plant and a TV. A variety of stickers and signs are stuck to the car, saying ‘No junk mail’, ‘Rob’s room’, ‘Kevin 07’ and ‘Home Sweet Home’. A woman with a baby and an older child is crammed into the front seat. A man in his undershirt and trousers holds a coffee cup and stands in front of the car. Next to the man with his back to him stands Kevin Rudd in gray suit and red tie. The man says to Kevin Rudd, ‘Can’t afford to drive it and can’t afford to rent or buy. So I guess we’re doing our bit to save the planet, what do you reckon Kev?’

Peak oil — why didn’t someone warn us?!
Alan Moir
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 2008

A man and a woman, facing the viewer, walk up a long, dusty road somewhere in the outback, both carrying petrol containers. Their car is parked further down the road with its bonnet up. In the foreground of the cartoon a series of six signs of different sizes and shapes, that they must have driven past, say, ‘Peak oil’, Caution!’, ‘Go back’, ‘Warning No more fuel’, ′ Point of no return’, ‘Continue at your own peril!’ The woman says, ‘Why didn’t someone warn us?!’

Feeding the poor
Ian Sharpe
Canberra Times, 25 April 2008

A gaunt man in shorts and sleeveless T-shirt stands in front of a petrol bowser with the nozzle in his mouth. The bowser has the label ‘Bio fuel’.

The release of the Garnaut Report in September 2008 confirmed the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions in order to combat climate change. Debate within the Liberal Party regarding its stance on the Emissions Trading Scheme Policy was well documented by cartoonists. Comment was also made on the response of our politicians to the continued decline of the Murray–Darling river system.

A beautiful day, Prime Minister!
Geoff Pryor
Canberra Times, 23 February 2008

Prime Minister Rudd’s bedroom. His bed is to the left. He hides under the bedclothes while a man in a suit with ‘Garnaut’ on his back opens French windows to the right. Mr Rudd’s worried face peeks out from the bedclothes. A gale is coming in through the opening, blowing over furniture and bringing in debris. The suited man is saying, ‘A beautiful day, Prime Minister! ...’ At the top centre of the image is written ‘... The Wake-Up Call ...’ A sheet of paper in the air has ‘Emission Targets 40 percent’ on it.

Liberal policy meeting
Matt Golding
Sunday Age, 3 August 2008

A cartoon divided into three horizontal panels. The heading says ‘The Liberals Thrash Out Their Latest Policy ...’. In all three panels Brendan Nelson with a tall caricature head stands before a white board to the left of the image. To the right are seated party members in silhouette. The whiteboard and Dr Nelson say different things in each panel.

Top panel: Brendan Nelson says to the party members ‘OK ... can we agree on this statement?’ On the whiteboard is written ‘Climate change is real!’

Middle panel: Brendan Nelson says to the party members ‘No! ... OK, how about this version?’ On the whiteboard is written ‘We give the planet the benefit of the doubt & support action on climate change’.

Bottom panel: Brendan Nelson says to the party members ‘All agreed ... great! Now we have a policy to take to the people’. On the white board is written ‘Most of us are skeptics (sic), but we do believe Brendan’s hair is real!’

Shag on a rock
David Pope
Canberra Times, 12 July 2008

Brendan Nelson sits naked on a bare smooth rock to the left of the image, his right leg drawn up; his body faces to the right. His expression is one of surprise, staring at the viewer. A white cliff coastline is in the background under a cloudy sky. Water with waves is between the rock and the coast. ‘Climate Policy monthly July 2008’ is in the top right hand corner of the image. Underneath on the same side is ‘In this issue Shag on a rock: pure political artistry, or shameless attention seeking?’

World Environment Day
Phil Somerville
Sun-Herald, June 2008

A mother, father and their two children sit on a large lounge to the right of the image facing a giant flat screen TV. On the TV is an image of blue sky and fluffy white clouds. They all smile at the image. To the left is a window. Through it can be seen pollution, rubbish, heavy traffic, a large smoke-belching factory and an airliner in the sky. A cat sleeps peacefully on the floor near the image bottom centre. At the bottom is written ‘World Environment Day’.

The Quixote protocol
Paul Newman
The Australian, 26 August 2008

Don Quixote sits on his horse in the image centre with his back to the viewer. He looks to the right and wears a suit of armour and a rounded hat with a flat brim. His horse wears a protective head covering. Don Quixote holds a lance in his right hand. Ahead looming over the horizon are four wind turbines; one is partly obscured by Don Quixote and his horse. The entire image has a light brown watercolour wash over it. At the top is written ‘The Quixote Protocol’.

Rolf Hiemann
Overland, 190 Autumn 2008

A clearing in a dense forest. In the centre is a truck with three timber workers on it. On the ground a small crowd of other timber workers and a camera man face them. Parked at the left and right are large bulldozers and trucks. The ground is rutted and bare. One man on the truck is saying, ‘As we bulldoze this forest for a modern nuclear dioxine toxination mill we acknowledge and honour the original inhabitants the Nullungurra-gurra people ...’

A good start ...
Andrew Weldon
The Age, 15 January 2008

A power station behind a large chain link fence. The station’s cooling towers and smokestacks are all emitting clouds of dark smoke. On the fence are two signs, either side of a gate to the left of the image. One reads ‘Loy Yang C Brown Coal Power Plant’. The other reads ‘Plastic Bags Not Permitted’. It also has a symbol of a plastic bag in a red circle with a diagonal red stripe over the bag. At the top left hand corner of the image in a white rectangle is written ‘A good start’.

Iron ore, son
Dean Alston
West Australian, 10 April 2008

A father, mother and their son and daughter are outside a cave. All wear primitive clothing made from grass and animal fur. The father sits at the left on a log roasting a chicken leg over a fire. The mother is at the right stirring something in a cooking pot made from a fuel drum. The son and daughter face the father, who is saying ‘Housing, electricity and gas became too expensive ... water ran out ... no teachers, coppers or nurses ...’ The son is saying ‘So ... what was left, Dad?’ The father replies ‘Iron ore son ...’.

Hysterical penguins
Judy Horacek, 20 September 2008

Eleven penguins on a white background. One is running in circles at the left side of the image, saying ‘The more the ice melts, the warmer things get. The warmer things get, the more the ice melts. The more the ice melts, the warmer things get. The warmer things get ...’. One penguin in the middle large group is saying, ‘Slap him someone, he’s hysterical’. A single penguin in the bottom right corner is saying, ‘Quiet! All of you! We’ve got to think!’

Flappity flap
David Rowe
Australian Financial Review, 19 June 2008

Peter Garrett and Penny Wong as mermaid style creatures lying prone in a dry riverbed, tails flapping. Penny Wong is facing right, weakly exhaling. Peter Garrett is parallel to her, facing left. He holds a piece of paper with ‘Murray Darling’ written on it. At his tail are three sheets of paper. The top one has ‘National Resource Management Board of the South Australian Murray–Darling Basin’ written on it. At the left of the image is a mermaid skeleton that suggests John Howard. A relentless sun shines down from the clear sky.

The river bed
Ron Tandberg
The Age, 19 June 2008

Three men in a vast brown flat and arid landscape with a dry riverbed running through it. One man stands in the riverbed toward the foreground, looking at a water puddle. The other two, dressed in suits, are walking up the left embankment of the riverbed, toward a dead tree. One is saying, ‘It’s all under control we’re having a meeting in November.' The other carries a document. More dead trees line the riverbed as it winds toward a distant purple-toned mountain range.

Wayne Swan’s first federal budget was a major test for the new Labor Government. Cartoonists took aim at the controversial baby bonus means test, and luxury car and alcopop taxes. At midyear, the budget surplus and comparatively high interest rates were both designed to contain inflation. However, by the end of the year the focus had shifted to trying to keep the economy out of recession.

Budget soufflé
Sturt Krygsman
The Australian, 13 March 2008

Wayne Swan is depicted as a chef. He has a large chef’s hat with an ‘L’ plate pinned to it and is holding a large blue bowl and large spoon, stirring and making a mess with the bowl’s contents. Sweat drops are pouring off his face as he peers intently at a book titled ‘Budget souffle’.

Budget losers
Fiona Katauskas
New Matilda, 14 May 2008

A blond, pregnant woman is in the centre of the frame leaning against a red convertible sports car. She’s holding a newspaper up to read in one hand and has a bottle in the other. She says, ‘Oh, F*#K!.' The title of the cartoon is ‘Budget 2008: The Real Losers’.

Inflation dragon
Mark Knight
Herald Sun, 5 March 2008

In the centre of the image a knight in armour with a shield labelled ‘Reserve Bank’ faces a dragon which is out of the frame but indicated by a huge green scaley foot and tongue of fire streaming towards the knight. The knight says, 'Never fear! I’m here to save you from the inflation dragon.' Slightly behind the knight, a female figure in a long pink dress is tied to stake. The knight’s sword has just cut off her head.

Tightening the belt
Eric Löbbecke
The Australian, 13 May 2008

Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan are depicted head to head as if whispering to each other. Wayne Swan holds a belt in his fist from which dangle two adults and and two children, squeezed by the belt. A dog is at the bottom of the image, its nose pointing up.

And not an alco pop in sight!
Jason Chatfield
Perth Voice, 6 June 2008

A manager and hotel housekeeper are facing the viewer and are coming into a room labelled ‘young labor suite’. The housekeeper is carrying a bucket and mop, the room is covered in empty bottles and cans, and someone lies passed out in the hallway behind. The manager says, ‘And not an alco pop in sight!’

Plasma rate rises
Jon Kudelka
The Australian, 13 May 2008

A man and woman sit on a sofa in the blue light of their big screen TV. The TV shows a stark white graph with a red line running diagonally from the lower left to the upper right corner. The man says, ‘Have you noticed how much more terrifying a rate rise looks on a 120 inch plasma TV?’

The collapse of the United States subprime mortgage market had a ripple effect throughout the world. The subsequent collapse of several American banks and falling international stock markets had severe implications for the world economy. For cartoonists, the challenge was to reflect rising fears centred on the stability of interest rates, superannuation funds and the credit squeeze with pathos and humour.

Boardroom crisis
Michael Fitzjames
Australian Financial Review, 30 April 2008

A boardroom interior with a floor-to-ceiling window, which shows a modern city with a busy port. A dark storm cloud rolls in from the left horizon. A butler enters from the left, a man hides under the table in the centre, a woman to the right looks at him, a man further right looks glum and behind him a man in top hat, tails and striped trousers looks at the scene beyond the window. The entire cartoon has been rendered in a ‘tone dropout’ style — black and white with no shades of grey.

Re-regulating the economy
Bruce Petty
The Age, 28 January 2008

A basement containing plumbing-like machines and boxes of pipes. There are cobwebs on some of the machines. Wayne Swan stands in the image centre opening a door marked ‘Freezer’. Above the door is written ‘Finance Museum’. A large contraption in a glass dome is falling out from behind the door. Mr Swan is saying, ‘I’ve found the controls if we want to re-regulate the economy ...’ Kevin Rudd stands to the image right, looking back at Mr Swan and holding a newspaper. Its headline reads ‘The market does not correct itself’.

Beach closed
Rod Clement
Australian Financial Review, 19 April 2008

A beach scene. The surf is rough and the sky filled with leaden storm clouds. A headland and rocky point are seen in the left middle distance. In the left foreground stands a man, facing the right side of the image, wearing a hooded raincoat. A dog sits at his left foot, also facing right, its eyes shut and ears blown back in the wind. The man is looking at a sign close by on two poles. The sign reads ‘Beach closed due to bad debt.’

US going down the gurgler
Ron Tandberg
The Age, 21 December 2007

A suburban home, in a cottage style with front porch and dormer window on the roof. A man, woman and their daughter stand on the footpath in front of the home’s welcome arch, which is decorated in flowers. To the left of them stands a man in a suit with a briefcase. He is saying to them, ‘Good news! ... there’ll be no interest rate rise because the United States is going down the gurgler and may take the rest of the world with them.' The family look dismayed.

Bear market
Sturt Krygsman
The Australian, 2008

The left side neck and head of a brown bear. It has the Earth in its mouth. Two of the bear’s left upper teeth can be seen puncturing the Earth’s surface, drawing drops of blood. The bear has its left eye tightly shut and its ears are flattened toward its body. The bear’s fur has been rendered in light and dark watercolour brushstrokes. The background is pale purple. At the bottom of the image in the white border is written ‘World in jaws of bear market’.

How do you want your retirement nest egg?
Mark Knight
Herald Sun, 23 January 2008

A café interior. A bear wearing a shirt, white apron and chef’s hat stands at a stove top. His left paw holds an egg over a frypan. Behind him a man and woman, nearing retirement, sit at the café counter. A newspaper sits on the counter; the headline says ‘Market dive’. The bear is turning to the couple and saying over his right shoulder ‘How do you like your retirement nest egg ...? Scrambled, fried or poached?’ The backs of two other café patrons can be seen roughly sketched in the background.

Cliché glut
Dean Alston
West Australian, 27 March 2008

A modern home kitchen. A cow in an apron stands on her hind legs doing the washing up. A bull with horns and a nose ring sits on a chair. A male calf stands on his hind legs talking to the bull. The cow looks through a window at a neighbour bull that has two large bags with ‘Manure for sale’ on them. A ‘For Sale’ sign is in front of the neighbour’s house.

The bull in the seat says to his calf son ‘Why are we selling? ... because of the cliché glut, son ... market rationalisation, property cycle, dead-cat (sic) bounce, correction, interest rate pain, bull market sell-off ...’

The calf son replies with ‘Don’t forget “securitisation”, Dad! ...’

The cow at the sink looks out at the neighbour bull and says ‘Gosh ... looks like the Johnsons are in trouble ...’.

It’s more serious than we thought
Peter Nicholson
The Australian, 22 March 2008

An office building towers into the sky. A sign on an upper floor says ‘Stock Market’. Six men are jumping from the building. All wear suits except for one who is naked. One man sits on a ledge, one stands in an open window and another stands on the roof looking down. In the lower right corner the Easter Bunny is seen falling with a basket of Easter eggs. Other Easter eggs follow the bunny down. A man and a woman watch from a window. The man is saying, ‘It’s more serious than we thought.'

A business cycle chasing a recovery
John Spooner
The Age, 25 June 2008

A flat, featureless landscape. The sky contains blue-black storm clouds. A tornado funnel emerges from the upper centre clouds and snakes to the ground at the lower left. In the right foreground a bubble floats near the ground, as though it were attempting to get away from the tornado.

Brother, can you spare a dime?
Reg Lynch
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September 2008

An American one dollar note, in landscape format. The image of George Washington in the middle of the note has had some chin stubble added to it in black ink. His mouth has been changed with the ink to look as though he’s talking. A speech bubble is to the right of him; in it is written ‘Brother, can you spare a dime?’ A plain white coffee mug has been drawn in front of the note, to the right of George Washington.

Explore more on Behind the Lines 2008

Return to Top