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Behind the Lines 2007: The Year's Best Cartoons

Behind the Lines: The Year's Best Cartoons (2007) was on show at the National Museum in Canberra from 14 December 2007 to 24 February 2008, before setting out on a national tour.

This year's Behind the Lines exhibition marks an important milestone for the National Museum of Australia. For over 10 years, the Museum has presented exhibitions exploring Australia's political history through the eyes of cartoonists.

The Museum's interest in cartoons celebrates an important part of Australia's newspaper culture. Cartoons provide a robust commentary of the Australian political system and bear testament to the health of the nation's democracy. The cartoons we collect provide a rich visual archive of Australia's political history and they will be an important resource for the Museum and the nation in years to come.

The cartoons in this year's exhibition represent the best of our latest set of acquisitions from artists around Australia including Alan Moir, Bill Leak, Cathy Wilcox, Geoff Pryor, John Spooner, Mark Knight and Warren Brown.

The story of the year is captured in the images presented. Debates over the environment, health care, the economy and Indigenous Australia are all reflected in the works on show.

The dominant issue for many cartoonists was leadership, whether concerning the emergence of Kevin Rudd as a possible leader, or the endgame of the relationship between John Howard and Peter Costello.

The tensions of the year were finally resolved in the federal election leaving the cartoonists to recover from another dramatic year in Australian politics.

Craddock Morton

National Museum of Australia

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