Mark Knight’s cartoon shows political leaders poised for election showdown


We are moments away from Premier Scott Morison calling a federal election. And although we don’t have a date yet, the campaign really has already started.

The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, of Labor, intervened early and tried to curry favor with voters.

Election campaigns are hot ground for cartoonists, so I thought I’d jump in early too and try to sum up the situation before the vote.

Politics is contradictory* by nature. By this I mean that we see candidates and political parties clashing in a battle of ideas on the best way to govern the country. Sometimes it’s a bit like a showdown, and that’s how I decided to portray the start of this election, with a Western-style showdown on the high street; the two party leaders confront each other at noon!

I wanted to add to the cartoon some of the early political promises that politicians made in hopes of winning elections.

The prime minister’s biggest weapon so far has come from the federal budget, where the government announced it was cutting fuel taxes to bring the price down. Cost of living pressures have been a major issue and this has been seen as a popular measure to help motorists.

I thought I could portray this in the cartoon by replacing the Prime Minister’s pistol with a gas nozzle in its holster. Her hand flies over her, ready to draw her political weapon when the elections are called!

Opposite him, Labor leader Anthony Albanese got a makeover for the election. Stories have been made about his new wardrobe, fad diet and weight loss as he positions himself as an alternative to the Prime Minister*.

I thought I could illustrate him in the cartoon as the new “skinny Albo” by putting him in his old oversized pants. His pose, when he pulls up those pants, resembles that of a gunslinger* ready for action!

The Labor Party has also been cautious, in the run-up to this election, not to divulge too many political details*. The party calls this a “small target” approach. Less detail gives its adversaries, the government, less to attack.

My cartoon shows a physically thinner Albanian as a much smaller and harder target in a confrontation!

During the election campaign, this is the kind of cartoon I can come back to and use when issues and events arise. It’s like a model.

I can use it to illustrate the course of the campaign. Because, as we know, there are usually quite a few politicians who get hurt during the election campaign.

They have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot*!


  • contradictory : involving two opposing parties
  • alternative: other option, choice
  • gunslinger: someone who carries and is ready to use a firearm
  • Politics: the idea or plan of action of a political party
  • shoot yourself in the foot: say or do something stupid that harms their chances of success


Ukulele a dangerous weapon in the hands of PM

It’s over with the old, with the new


  1. How does Mark Knight describe the cartoonists’ election campaign?
  2. Why did Mark draw this cartoon as a Western-style showdown?
  3. Why did Mark draw the Prime Minister’s gun as a gas gun?
  4. Why did Mark draw Anthony Albanese in oversized pants?
  5. Mark describes this type of comic as a “pattern”. Why?


1. What happens next?
Imagine that this cartoon is part of a story made up of three cartoons. All three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the beginning of the story. Think about what the story might be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes for this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
To be a great draughtsman, knowing how to draw is just one of the skills you need.

Write a list of any other skills you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job. Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them do a great job.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Skills, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design

Stretch your sentence
Choose either Prime Minister Scott Morrison or Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, and write their names on a piece of paper.

Look at how they are represented in the cartoon and write down three adjectives to better describe them.

Now add a verb to your list. What do they do?

Add an adverb about how they do the action.

Using all the words listed, create a descriptive sentence.


Comments are closed.