Cartoonists over the centuries have often targeted the great and the good, and since the sixties especially, the highest in the land have been considered viable targets for the most vociferous abuse, as long as it’s in pen and ink, while the politician is obliged to grin and bear it.
But Australian Prime Minister Julia Guillard has decided that she’s not going to act that way.
In a recent press conference, she answered allegations that seventeen years ago she set up a re-election slush fund for her then boyfriend and union official Bruce Wilson (yes, he’s called Bruce) against official guidelines and that the money was used corruptly.
Ms Gillard said she had been the victim of a “highly sexist” campaign on the internet relating to the events 17 years ago, naming cartoonist Larry Pickering as one of those behind it.
She said Pickering ran a “vile and sexist website” which made allegations against her, but she would not sue him because he was a bankrupt.
Pickering does continually target Gillard and her government from a right wing perspective, and frequently portrays her as carrying round a strap on dildo and a whip. This may have been the first time he drew her actually wearing it though.
For any cartoonist however, this is likely to have any impact, indeed he will wear it as a badge of honour. Especially with all the new eyes on his work…