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home / archives / 1991 /  4th March

Higher resolution version available: click on image to download.



With the Victorian State Government facing a succession of crises, Victorian Premier Joan Kirner was facing pressure by the Victorian Liberal Party Leader Alan Brown and Coalition partner National Party Leader Pat McNamara to go to the polls, by hampering supply. A technique as old as the weapons they were carrying.

In this case the choice of wording is inspired by the stance of the coalition the United States had recently led against Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. While the Coalition in Victoria would also eventually be successful, the Kirner Government managed to hang on till October 1992.

A further note, as we have had a few questions about the polka-dots, this was Jeff's first polka-dot cartoon, although in this case it was accidental that the polka-dots were included. Some people believe it was a cartoon done on 23rd Feb 1991 due to its appearance in an article in "The Age" published on the 11th of March, 1991, which discussed a comment Joan Kirner had made at Womens' Trust Dinner on the preceding weekend. The Premier, while discussing cartoonists, complaining that she was being drawn in a polka-dot dress even though she didn't own one. We are quietly confident that this is the cartoon she was actually referring to - at least that is the way it was taken by the cartoonist as it rapidly became the iconic look, with its first deliberate use on the 15th March 1991.

As to why the polka-dots appeared for ever after - cartoonists are always looking for some sort of signature look to associate with their subjects. In some cases it is based on a physical characteristic, in others it is related to what the individual may have said or done. In the Premier's case, complaining that cartoonists have started drawing you in a polka-dot dress even if you don't own one provided just the ticket. It's a bit like what can happen when you use phrases like "banana republic", or "I am the greatest" as Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam, amongst others, found out. No doubt their fellows will continue to do so!

One further piece of trivia: while the "polka-dot" look is probably best known for its association with Joan Kirner's Premiership, Jeff actually used it in a number of cartoons associated with the Labor party around the time, such as the those of Paul Keating and George Bush on 4th Jan 1992 and 4th Sept 1992. The latest ones we have on-line are 4th Feb 2008 and 24th June 2010.