Behind the Lines: The Year’s Best Political Cartoons 2019 celebrates another year in Australia’s unique, vibrant and fearless tradition of political cartooning. No politician, party or policy is safe from the nation’s best cartoonists; witty, powerful or ribald, their images offer an astutely observed journey through twelve months in our political life.

Unfortunately, this exhibition has been cancelled.

The whole exhibition is available to view for free here.


Behind the Lines is a travelling exhibition developed by Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, proudly supported by the National Collection Institutions Touring and Outreach program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

An award winning political cartoonist, Mr Kudelka’s cartoons have appeared in leading newspapers such as The Australian, and he has recently joined the team at The Saturday Paper.
Mr Kudelka said, “As the main aim of political cartooning is puncturing the pompous and the puffed-up, it would be unwise for a political cartoonist to make grandiose claims about the importance of the profession, but one thing I can say with the utmost confidence is that at least it keeps us off the streets.”

Slide for the curators top 5 cartoons from this year!
Artist: David Rowe
Publication: The Financial Review
Date: 22nd February 2019
Title: We’re Not in Canberra Anymore
David Rowe’s cartoon appeared shortly after Julie Bishop announced her resignation from parliament. Her red shoes have come to symbolise the defiance, and the fate perhaps, of a capable female politician amidst the turmoil of politics. Rowe continues in this tradition by placing Julie Bishop in her red shoes on the battlefield. In the background he references two players in the 2018 leadership spill Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann.
Artist: Pat Campbell
Publication: The Canberra Times
Date: 18th March 2019
Title: The Christchurch Fern
Pat Campbell reflects on the pain and horror felt around the world following the terrorist attack by an Australian man on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Likewise Campbell’s image of the New Zealand silver fern with people at various stages of prayer also went global. In Campbell’s cartoon many viewers found a message of hope and resilience, and our common humanity staring back at the face of hatred.
Artist: Mark Knight
Publication: The Herald Sun
Date: 16th May 2019
Title: Eurovision Campaign
Mark Knight layers the Australian election over the extravaganza of Australia’s entry into Eurovision 2019 by placing Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten onto the five-metre theatre ‘sway poles’ used by Kate Miller-Heidke. With colour, movement and clever layering of two different concepts, Knight invites the viewer to reflect on just what political parties and individuals will do to get elected.
Artist: Jon Kudelka
Publication: The Australian
Date: 14 June 2019
Title: Health Warning
Jon Kudelka juxtaposes two small human figures in the bottom left hand corner against a line of large coal trucks. Simple and effective with only seven short words, Jon Kudelka invites the viewer to laugh out loud at individual and societal actions. This cartoon is selected for the curator’s pick due to its use of succinct, humorous and insightful commentary on the nature of coal as an energy source, relevant to our theme on land, water and climate.
Artist: David Pope
Publication: 12 July 2019
Date: The Canberra Times
Title: Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
David Pope’s cartoon offers a ray of sunshine on the announcement by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt that he would work towards a referendum on constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians. Using a popular movie reference, Pope inserts politicians from both sides to show the bipartisan support for recognition in the constitution. Ken Wyatt drives the bus that wears the face of Scott Morrison, while ALP Senator Pat Dodson sits in the bus giving a hand to the next generation, symbolised by the child, and Linda Burney, ALP member of the House of Representatives pushes the bus from behind.