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How-to-read a political cartoon

Select another cartoon to view it in more detail.

The slave market

Artist: Norman Lindsay
State Library of Victoria

How has the cartoonist drawn Billy Hughes? Describe his expression. What is he wearing?

The men behind Billy Hughes are former Labor Party members. What expressions are on their faces? What is Billy Hughes doing with these men?

The man on the right is Joseph Cook, the leader of the Liberal Party. Compare the way he is dressed to the other men in the cartoon. What does this signify?

Joseph Cook is reaching into a purse. What do you think the two men are discussing? What do you think will happen next?

The title of this cartoon is The slave market. Does this fit with your interpretation of the cartoon?

In 1917 Billy Hughes left the Labor Party over the issue of conscription. He and other pro-conscription Labor members of parliament joined in coalition with Joseph Cook and the Liberal Party to form a new Government. Billy Hughes continued as Prime Minister of Australia.

The cartoon also asks people to ‘post in a conspicuous place’. Why?