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The Behind the Lines 2007 collection consists of 68 political cartoons collected under the auspices of the National Museum of Australia's 2005-2007 Political cartooning targeted collecting project and the Behind the Lines 2007 political cartooning exhibition. There are 52 different artists represented in the collection including Alan Moir, Peter Nicholson, Cathy Wilcox, Mark Knight, Sean Leahy, Bruce Petty, Dean Alston and Ward O'Neill.
The cartoons provide a satirical record of the major events and personalities in Australian politics in 2007. Major topics addressed within the collection include issues such as citizenship testing, the APEC summit, the rise of Kevin Rudd, the continuing conflicts in Afghanistan and Irag and an election year in which the Labour party regained the Federal Leadership. Taken together the collection provides a diverse visual archive of Australian political events in 2007 and demonstrates the quality of Australian political cartooning and illustration.
This black-and-white cartoon by Geoff Pryor comments on the Northern Territory Emergency Response or 'intervention'. In the foreground are the legs of a soldier who is wearing army fatigues and carrying a baton. Between the soldier's legs are two Indigenous men, a woman, small children and a dog. The soldier is saying '... THE DETAILS'LL BE ALONG LATER ...'. This cartoon was first published in the Canberra Times on 27 April 2007. Further information is available for this resource.
Geoff Pryor (1944-) was the editorial cartoonist for the Canberra Times from 1977 until his retirement in 2008. His influences included his grandfather, who had been a freelance cartoonist in South Australia under the name 'Cypher', and the works of Bulletin greats such as Ted Scorfield, Norman Lindsay and David Low. Growing up in Canberra and having a mother who worked in Parliament House also fostered his interest in politics.
In August 2007 the Australian Government, citing rising levels of child sex abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and domestic violence, launched an 'emergency intervention' in some NT Indigenous communities. Parliament passed controversial legislation that assumed a five-year lease over Indigenous settlements in order to provide additional welfare, health and schooling services. The intervention occurred during the lead-up to the 2007 federal election and was criticised as being heavy handed because of the use of the military, and as being rushed and driven by the coalition government's desire to get a lift in the polls.
Political cartoons have a long history in Australia and remain one of the most popular forms of political commentary. Although 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 print media. Publications such as the Melbourne Punch, the Sydney Punch and the Bulletin featured both caricatures and cartoons, and it was through these publications that political cartoons became a popular element of the Australian press.
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