A cartoon about the rise of Artificial Intelligence. We see three horsemen of the apocalypse casting a wary eye over a possible fourth member, represented by Microsoft's "Clippy" paperclip icon, sitting on a paperclip horse.

I thought I might make use of a short break to post some of my cartoons from the year that was. Perhaps a couple that didn’t make it into the regular end-of-year collections from Scribe (Best Australian Political Cartoons) or the Museum of Australian Democracy (Behind the Lines).

I haven’t posted here for awhile. It is clear the place could use a bit of a spring clean! I will have to speak to the manager.

A cartoon on the state of policy debate in Australia, particularly with regard to housing, where current problems have been decades in the making.

A cartoon about the war crimes defamation case launched by Ben Roberts-Smith. Not the result he was hoping to drink to.

A cartoon explaining the way carbon offsets work.

A cartoon about the Voice referendum, the outstretched hand of Yes being met by the closed fist of No.

A cartoon with Father Christmas trying to take in the enormity of the destruction of Gaza.

To support their work in Gaza you can donate to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) here.

A cartoon marking the National Apology to victims of Thalidomide and their families. Drawing a cartoon about the national apology to thalidomide survivors and their families, it’s easy to get carried away by the many fine and heartfelt words spoken on the day. Politics puts its best face on during occasions like these. But then you read the timeline of Thalidomide Australia’s interactions with the Australian Government as they doggedly sought recognition and action over many years. Every national apology, every national gain, only comes at the end of a long, long fight from below. That will have to sit as my lesson from 2023.

In scrolling through my digital notebook to pull out a few cartoons from this year, I’ve also spied a couple of rough sketches that never got drawn up for print.

Sketch of Australian Rules footballer Ron Barassi, as playing coach for Humanity FC, giving the team a half-time spray.

This one was drawn after the death of Ron Barassi, a celebrated captain and coach in Australian Rules football. Barassi is the player whose name is given to the imaginary geographical line (upon which I live) that roughly divides Australia between it’s rugby-loving and Aussie Rules regions. He was a legendary player for the Melbourne Demons who switched clubs, which brought to mind an image of him taking on a role with Humanity FC.

The other “in memoriam” sketch I found is of the great Australian cartoonist Bruce Petty.

A cartoon of Bruce Petty as the instructor at cartooning TAFE, having popped the hood on a late-model earth and fascinated with the complicated engine beneath.

It is impossible to overstate the influence of Bruce Petty on cartooning in this country. He was curious about the world, and surveyed everything with a critical, democratic, humanist eye. Watching him draw was like watching him think, his arm a direct extension of his brain. With a piece of paper and a felt-tip pen Bruce would take a line for a walk to see where it might end up, cutting and pasting the elements back together afterwards to give the reader a more direct route to the final destination.

For half a century, no one in our game drew the big picture bigger, in all its messy and contradictory complexity. Cartooning is a terribly reductive medium. It purports to distill things to their essence, but more often than not it succeeds only in reducing things to simplistic and vulgar distortions. Bruce’s work seems to have been a lifelong experiment in trying to say things simply without rendering the world simple.

Like Barassi for football, Petty for Australian cartooning is in our First 18, and probably our captain-coach. Without the angry sprays at half time, obviously. Bruce would’ve understated the team’s predicament with a wry smile and dry comment. I imagine everyone sucking on orange quarters and standing around the whiteboard, trying to follow along as Bruce quietly took a pen and triangulated every player’s position to the quantum level.

Thanks to all those who bought posters, prints or cards of some of my pictures via RedBubble this year. I don’t think I managed to put up anything new this last 12 months, but I’m hoping to get back to a few drawing projects outside of political cartooning in 2024. I’ll post stuff here when it materialises, and post any news on my Mastodon and Instagram accounts.

I am no longer an admin of the Coast is Calling poster collection on RedBubble, so if you want to contact me about those please email me directly rather than through RedBubble’s BubbleMail.

Thanks also to my peers in the Australian Cartoonist Association, who awarded me “Stanleys” for editorial cartooning, humorous illustration and as cartoonist of the year in 2022, and to the Museum of Australian Democracy, who picked me as their political cartoonist of the year for 2022.

All the best for the new year.

Rough sketch of the Monaro Highway, looking towards Canberra.

The only way is up

Today is Threatened Species Day, so it seems an appropriate time to launch two new posters featuring some of the unassuming stars of Kosciuszko National Park.

Kosciuszko tors Kosciuszko summit walk

The alpine habitat of these species is facing critical pressure from feral horses, commercial expansion, and a warming climate. Our governments have the power to address all three issues.

These pics were inspired by the late Professor Graeme Worboys, who approached me last year about the possibility of drawing some of the high country’s special species. Unfortunately Graeme passed away before the project could begin, so he can’t be blamed for what I have ended up drawing. I’d like to dedicate these to his memory, and his lifetime of work protecting Kosciuszko.

There’s a third pic coming, but I didn’t finish it in time so I’ll have to post it later!

Prints, posters and cards are available on RedBubble.

The South Coast is (still) calling

Some new posters are now up on the Coast Is Calling’s RedBubble site, raising funds for bushfire recovery via the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Poster artwork for the Coast Is Calling

The new designs feature Moruya, Broulee and Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, and the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the ACT.

They join two other pics I drew during our covid shutdown earlier in the year, of Rosedale, on the NSW South Coast, and Batlow, in the NSW high country.

Poster artwork for the CoastIsCalling

Yes, there is already a Batemans Bay pic in the series, but I wanted to draw the bridge before it is replaced by the new concrete flyover currently under construction.

All these pics are of places closer to home, but covid-willing I’ll be down Eden way before too long.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me photos of the posters out and about. It’s wonderful to see where they are bobbing up!

Posters in framing shop Posters in the Batemans Bay Boatshed Cobargo poster

The South Coast is calling (on RedBubble)

And they’re up!

The pics I drew of the NSW South Coast after the bushfires are now available as posters, cards, notebooks and art prints (framed and unframed) on RedBubble.

Poster available on RedBubble

Australian Community Media has decided to donate all profits from the sale of these prints and merch to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. FRRR provide small, discretionary grants to small regional communities across Australia.

The South Coast is calling

I have drawn some posters of towns and regions on the south coast of NSW affected by the recent Australian bushfires.

Posters of the NSW South Coast

These posters are being published this month as part of a tourism campaign in the newspapers of Australian Community Media (ACM). ACM is the publisher of The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mecury, Border Mail, and many other regional and agricultural mastheads.

Prints, posters and postcards will then be available for purchase, to raise funds for the long-term bushfire recovery effort. Details of how to buy them will be available soon, but it is likely to be through an online shop like RedBubble, which will allow for prints to be made as required, and for purchases to be made overseas. I’ll post details here when I have them.

Sketch, Batemans Bay Bridge Concept sketch, Cobargo Sketch, Nelligen Sketch, Cobargo

As you can see, the posters draw their inspiration from the old Australian travel posters of the 1950s and 60s, along with the Japanese woodblock print tradition of decades earlier, and more modern comic book influences.

I wanted to draw the things we love about these places – which, despite the devastation, remain in intact – without downplaying or glossing over the impact of the fires. I hope they help strengthen connections between town and coast, and support livelihoods disrupted and devastated by the fires, without sidestepping the climate warning the fires represent. Recovery from the ecological destruction and human trauma wrought by the fires can’t be separated from the global effort to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that now turbo-charge Australia’s fire conditions.

I have been overwhelmed by the positive response these posters have received since their launch last Friday and have been inundated with requests to draw other towns and places: Batlow and Tumbarumba in the high country; Bermagui, Eden and Mallacoota on the Far South Coast; Moruya and Rosedale, Braidwood and Kangaroo Valley. I do hope to be able to add a few more in the coming months, including the Namadgi National Park in the ACT, close to home and heart. 80 per cent of Namadgi was burnt – one third of the ACT! – and it remains closed to the public.

Thanks to all those who I spoke to during my visits to the South Coast, particularly in Cobargo and Conjola (Lake Conjola and Conjola Park). The relief centres organised by their local communities are inspirational.


Like many other news outlets, The Canberra Times now has digital subscriptions to pay for its journalism. So the gallery of my most recent cartoons is now behind a paywall.

Coal-fired country

The Minister for Coal warned students that protesting for climate action would only lead to the dole queue.

Lecturing the next generation of Australian voters to ignore global warming really should be an express ticket to the back of that queue. Instead, it will probably lead to a lucrative minerals industry lobbying job.

Cartoon, Minister for Resources

John Quiggin has written on where we’re at in the long struggle over Adani’s plans for a giant coal mine in Queensland.

(The Canberra Times, 1 December 2018 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)