A collapse of authority and integrity in politics means Australian cartoonists have “a great future in prospect”, according to former Victorian Premier John Cain.
Mr Cain was speaking at the 7 December launch of the Australian Media Hall of Fame ‘The Premier and the Pen’ political cartooning exhibition at State Library Victoria.
He told a gathering which included a roll call of some of Victoria’s finest cartoonists that bad news for Australian democracy was good news for them.
Former Premier John Cain officially launching the exhibition
The major political parties were “empty, hollowed-out logs” that were “narrow in their vision”, “dominated by factional forces”, driven by opinion polls and motivated by the desire to raise money pandering to vested interest groups.
But the result for cartoonists was an “almost boundless pool” of material and subjects, which was “bubbling away waiting to be addressed”.
“The Australian political system is working for cartoonists and for the media too – working hard. It’s very effective at the moment,” Cain said.
The grim reality, however, was the demise of print media, which seemed likely to seriously impact the craft.
Photos: Stephen McKenzie
The exhibition opening was attended by cartoonists Ron Tandberg, Geoff Hook, Andrew Dyson, George Haddon, John Spooner, Matt Golding and Peter Nicholson, along with former premiers Cain and John Brumby.
The Premier and The Pen will run for a year in the Dome Galleries at the State Library.
Press Club CEO Mark Baker introducing the exhibition
Selection Panel Chair Mike Smith on the Australian Hall of Fame and cartooning