I WAS occasionally asked for my thoughts on the Gillard Government. My wisecrack reply was: “They’re doing an awesome job!” (for a political cartoonist).
First, I’d get the strange looks and then comes: “Yeah, that’ll be right, you’d be loving this government, there’s always plenty of material to work with!”.
The hardest part of a cartoon is coming up with the ideas, so from the moment I wake in Cartoonland I am reading and listening to as much as possible and scribbling down whatever ideas that might pop into my head.
I didn’t like drawing Julia Gillard at first. It’s always hard to capture a new politician who emerges into the spotlight.
When I began drawing Tony Abbott over a decade ago, he was very bland to start with, but since taking over as Opposition Leader he has evolved into a fun politician to draw.
Cartoons make a valuable contribution to public social debate and mine contribute by mocking the already political public opinion, and I thank the outgoing Gillard Government every day for its mismanagement and failings, its inspiration that has been handed to me on a cartoonist platter almost every day, adding so much more colour to my creative licence.
There were one or two Gillard cartoons that have struck a chord with readers, one interesting response that landed in my inbox was: “Dear Cartoonist, after reading (not laughing) at your absurd inner workings, I thought your cartoon was in bad taste and like a vomit after a bad meal”.
The Gillard circus was so full of clowns and was my weekly foolproof for material, but there have been quiet times, and my battle plan for dealing with the dreaded “blank page” has been Abbott, who has been involved in some of the funniest moments in Australian politics.
If, after the election, we end up with an Abbott Government, it could mean the end of the easy life, but I have a serious responsibility to be funny and I’ll keep striving for creative excellence – measured by being the cartoon that gets cut out and appears on office walls or the fridge at home.
As a political cartoonist, I miss Julia. Then again, I get to be drawing Kevin once more and I really like drawing Kevin Rudd.
When he and the Labor Party won power over John Howard and the Liberals in 2007, I thought my creative toilet might have become blocked, but Rudd removed any thought of a creative bung, allowing a burst of ideas and inspiration to flow.