Shrewd, alert, and ready to judge: Australian cartoonists make their mark in Behind the Lines 2014  | HerCanberra

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Shrewd, alert, and ready to judge: Australian cartoonists make their mark in Behind the Lines 2014 

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Superheroes. Battle axes. Death stares. Who said politics was dry and dull? Highly anticipated and scorchingly honest, Behind the Lines 2014 celebrates the best political cartoons of 2014.

The exhibition – one of the most anticipated of the year for politic tragics – opened today at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Canberra.


“The 33 cartoonists who feature in Behind the Lines 2014 are powerful image and memory makers. They are shrewd, alert and ready to judge,” says Exhibition Curator, Dr Tania Cleary.

In the 2014 exhibition, cartoonists wryly comment on Tony Abbott’s first year in government. They see the Coalition attempting to deliver strong and stable leadership, as well as fulfilling their election promises to stop the boats, axe the tax, fix the budget and reduce red tape. Meanwhile, a restless Australian Labor Party waits for its Leader to ditch the past, move forward and say something.

Cartoonists saw 2014 as a year when conflict abroad tragically affected the lives of many Australians. The passing of Gough Whitlam was another event which resonated nationally, and three cartoonists reflect on Whitlam’s legacy in this year’s exhibition.


Behind the Lines 2014 gives us an evolving vantage point from which to consider recent political history,” says Daryl Karp, Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

“This year’s exhibition condenses a year of political highs and lows into 80 cartoons that collectively tell the story of the first year of a new federal government.”

Darryl says that the hundreds of cartoons considered for this year’s exhibition were of an exceptionally high standard and that in Australia we are profoundly lucky cartoonists are free to poke fun at our politicians and satirise the most contentious of national issues.


“Behind the Lines 2014 exemplifies our vision to celebrate the spirit of Australian democracy, and the power of individual voices.”

Each year the exhibition acknowledges a cartoonist as the Behind the Lines Political Cartoonist of the Year. Congratulations to this year’s recipient, Mark Knight, Herald Sun. Mark was selected for his extraordinary mastery of caricature and bold political insight. Work by cartoonists from across the country from both print and online media are featured in the exhibition.

The essentials

What: Behind the Lines 2014
Where: Museum of Democracy at Old Parliament House
When: Open daily from 9am to 5pm until November 2015

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