The US ship of state

Jack Waterford reflects on Obama’s farewell speech in today’s Canberra Times: “[E}ven after the appropriate discounts, is it not thrilling to sometimes hear a politician appeal to the better parts of our nature? To optimism and to nobility?”

How to sum up the Obama era in one picture? Ha, obviously, you can’t. Contrary to the cliché, a good thousand words runs rings around any picture, and in this case I’ll take 5,770 from Gary Younge.

Cartoon: the ship of state (the end of the Obama era)

(The Canberra Times, 14 January 2017 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)

Politicians entitlements

The Big Chopper deployed this week to douse the Sussan Ley travel expenses spot fire. And yet somehow it continues to burn.

Cartoon: Bronwyn Bishop blames socialists for media scrutiny of politicians entitlements

Meanwhile, Centrelink’s fraught robo-debt-recovery campaign has now sent out 270,000 letters. Because those trips by Ministers to the AFL Grand Final and the Portsea Polo aren’t going to pay for themselves.

Cartoon: if politicians entitlements were pursued in the same way as Centrelink debts

Confused and concerned about your Centrelink debt notice? Visit Not My Debt.

(The Canberra Times, 11 & 12 January 2017 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)

I, Government

Centrelink’s error-prone automated compliance system is causing a lot of grief. It feels a lot like the census debacle – make cuts, but reassure everyone that IT will bridge the service gap.

Cartoon: Centrelink's error-prone automated compliance system

The dalek-shaped cyborg here is supposed to have a passing resemblance to the Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge (Dickens himself could not have come up with a better name!). But given that no-one knows what he looks like, and given the theme, it seemed more important to capture the likeness of something mechanical than something human.

(The Canberra Times, 3 January 2017 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)

Campaigning for the release of Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart

Photo: front page of Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet

My cartoon on the cover of the Turkish national daily Cumhuriyet, in the panel where their cartoonist Musa Kart’s cartoon should be.

Photo: blank cartoon panel, following the arrest of Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart

Musa was arrested and jailed pending trial in early November, along with a number of his journalist colleagues, as part of President Erdoğan’s post-coup crackdown on critical voices in the media.

Photo of Turkish cartoonist Musa Cart, October 2016

While he remains in jail, Cumhuriyet is filling Musa’s panel with cartoons of solidarity from around the world.

Cartoon: in solidarity with jailed Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart

“At least 81 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, all of them facing anti-state charges, in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown that has included the shuttering of more than 100 news outlets. The 259 journalists in jail worldwide is the highest number recorded since 1990.” A special report from the Committee to Protect Journalists by Elana Beiser.

Turnbull kills off Abbott’s Green Army

“The decision will be handed down in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook on December 19”

Funded by cutting Landcare, a risible fig leaf for the Coalition’s nakedness on climate policy, and underfunded as a proper employment program, there were lots of reasons to facepalm Tony’s Green Army plan. But I can’t celebrate its demise. “It is not an environmental program. It is an employment program, and a bad one at that” said Greens leader Di Natale, Shouldn’t we be trying to develop programs that are both? Sounds like it was a good experience for many participants; was there scope to improve it? A voluntary scheme for unemployed kids, working with local groups, add a little more citizen science training to the environmental remediation work, and improve the pay rates?

Cartoon: Malcolm Turnbull kills off Tony Abbott's Green Army

(The Canberra Times, 6 December 2016 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)