One from the Archives


I came across this classic old cartoon that I just had to share. It’s by Bulletin and Sun cartoonist Tom Glover, who died, at his desk, aged only 47, just a few years after this cartoon was drawn.

In 1935, Labor politician William Maloney, a dedicated social reformer, appeared in a film appealing for free kindergartens and milk for creches. Despite Maloney’s good intentions, his bohemian affectations and frequent attraction to odd crazes made him a favourite butt of the press.

Maloney’s appearance in a “talkie” was obviously a natural spur to lampoon other politicians as would-be movie stars.

“Garbobruce” is Stanley Bruce, eighth Prime Minister of Australia. A veteran of Gallipoli and France, the patrician Bruce was a reformist who oversaw the move of the seat of government to the new capital, Canberra, and the establishment of what would become the Federal Police, the CSIRO, and other organisations. After leaving office, he became an international diplomat.

“Mae Langwest” is Jack Lang, New South Wales premier. A controversial politician who inspired both passionate enmity and support, he is the only Australian premier to have been dismissed from office.

“Mickey Scullin Mouse” is the hapless James Scullin. The ninth Prime Minister of Australia, Scullin’s government was ill-equipped to deal with the crisis of the Great Depression. After winning a landslide election in 1929, Scullin’s government was defeated in 1931, the last one-term federal government in Australia to date.

“Little Shirley Temple Hughes” is Billy Hughes, seventh Prime Minister of Australia. The “Little Digger” (Hughes was Prime Minister for most of WWI, which he vowed to fight “to the last man and the last shilling”) was one of Australia’s most controversial Prime Ministers, changing political parties five times, including being expelled from three. He was also a notorious fabulist, with his colourful tales of his early life growing more unlikely as the years passed.

“Laurel Page” and “Hardy Lyons” are Earl Page and Joe Lyons, the eleventh and tenth Prime Ministers, respectively. Glover’s cartoon sees the two as an interchangeable amalgam of the bumbling duo (note the crossed arrows, and that Earl Page has Stan Laurel’s name but Oliver Hardy’s features, while Joe Lyons has Hardy’s name but Laurel’s looks).

Joe Lyons was the only Tasmanian to serve as Prime Minister, and was one of Australia’s longest-serving and most popular PMs until his sudden death in 1939. Despite his sleepily good-natured manner (he was often caricatured as a koala), Lyons had a sharp mind, and was also renowned for his ability to unite warring factions. Lyons quit the Labor party over its handling of the 1929 Crash, and formed the United Australia Party, which he led as Prime Minister from 1932 until his death. Lyons’ wife Enid was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman to hold a cabinet post.

On Joe Lyons’ death, the Governor-General appointed Earl Page as Prime Minister. However, he only held the position for three weeks, when Robert Menzies was elected as PM by the UAP. Page bitterly attacked Menzies in the House, calling him incompetent and a wartime coward. By 1940, the two reconciled, and Page served as a Minister in Menzies’ first government, until 1941.

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