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Video clip synopsis – Joe Hockey talks about political cartoons in the media and their personal effect on the subject.
Year of production - 2007
Duration - 4min 2sec
Tags - civics and citizenship, democracy, image and reality, Learning Journey Satire, media, media and society, politics, representations, satire, see all tags


Satire and Democracy,  Joe Hockey

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About the Video Clip


Talkback Classroom is a forum program run by the Education section of the National Museum of Australia. Each year, panels of three secondary students selected from schools Australia-wide interview leading decision-makers on important current issues. The panels participate in a ‘learning journey’ (researching the issues and developing interview skills) to explore the issues and prepare for the forum.

In 2007 a forum on the topic of 'Political Satire’ was held. The guests interviewed were John Safran, SBS TV/Triple J radio presenter and Canberra-based cartoonist David Pope. The interview panellists were ACT students Kirrily Howarth (Yr 12 St Francis Xavier College), Samantha Bobba (Yr 10 Lyneham High School) and Wil Francis (Yr 9 Belconnen High School). In preparation for the forum, students participated in a learning journey that involved interviewing Australian cartooning icon Bruce Petty and Joe Hockey, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.

Background Information


Australia has a rich political history. A significant part of this history is political satire; this allows society to see the ‘underbelly’ of the political process and to gain insights into governmental behaviour and decision-making.

Political satire in Australia is most often seen in the form of cartoons or television programs. The first political cartoon published in an Australian newspaper appeared in 1835 in the Cornwall Chronicle in Launceston, Tasmania. Many of Australia’s major newspapers continue to feature political satire cartoons as part of their daily editorial. With the arrival of television in Australia, political satire soon moved into this medium in the form of shows such as The Mavis Bramston Show, The Games, The Glasshouse and The Chaser’s War on Everything.

Many contemporary topics are covered by political satirists. Climate change, terrorism, economics, the environment, elections and government ‘indiscretions’ are often targets for political satire. Often the satirists will interpret a topic in such a way that will expose the real substance of it, frequently allowing people to gain a better understanding of the topic and to be better informed. Political satire performs an important role in Australia’s democratic society; it is a potent device that can expand awareness of the matters that affect all

Classroom Activities


Before You Watch

Investigate the way in which politicians and other high-profile public figures have satirised in cartoons. Look at the messages in the cartoons; try to identify the specific political or other topics that have inspired the cartoonists. Compare and contrast two examples; one that you think is successful in its satire and one that is less successful in that way.

While You Watch

Joe Hockey, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, talks about the acceptance of cartooning as part of political life. What does he say about the role of cartooning in politics and democracy? How does he answer the question ‘does all satire hurt’? What do you think of his response to this notion? Do you agree or disagree? Justify your opinion.

After You Watch

Political satire cartoons are not permitted in some countries. Conduct some research and see if you can identify some of these countries. Find out why this form of cartooning is not permitted and what the penalties are for producing such cartoons. Compare Australia to these countries; what is it that allows political satire cartooning here but not in the other countries? Try to imagine what it would be like living in a country where political satire was not permitted. What would life be like? What effect would it have on the politics of that country? How would you feel about the situation? How would you react to it?

Further Resources


National Museum of Australia’s Talkback Classroom website

National Museum of Australia’s ‘Behind the Lines’ Political Cartooning travelling exhibition

National Museum of Australia’s Civics and Citizenship studies units

Australian Cartoonists’ Association website