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Satirical art dissects Australia’s raucous politics

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘Under scrutiny’ by Julia Davis, a Bald Archy entrant depicting recent scandal-plagued politicians

To an outsider, Australian politics looks like an unfettered blood sport, where the only aim is to savage the leader.

After chewing through five prime ministers in as many years, the world is left wondering whether Malcolm Turnbull will soon be mauled too.

The reality, of course, is far more complicated – there are many more power games at play in Canberra’s Parliament House.

The annual Bald Archy Prize for satirical art is a colourful way to get to know some of the main protagonists.

Warning: Readers may find some of the images offensive

Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘The return of Pistol and Boo’ by Marty Steel

The National Party leader made his mark on the world’s social media timeline in 2015 when he threatened to put down Johnny Depp’s pet dogs, Pistol and Boo.

As deputy prime minister in the coalition government, his role is often as an attack dog, barking down the opposition during a raucous Question Time debate.

The one thing missing from this picture is the broad-brimmed hat Mr Joyce regularly wears for interviews when outdoors.

Last year he revealed a different side when he spoke openly about receiving treatment for melanoma, warning “big hats might look silly, but skin cancers look sillier”.

Pauline Hanson, One Nation leader

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘Told ya’ by Jack G Kennedy

The far-right Queensland senator is the subject of several Bald Archy entries. Here she’s depicted celebrating Donald Trump’s election victory with a glass of champagne and a pretty direct hand gesture.

After 18 years outside federal politics, Ms Hanson also tasted victory in 2016 by winning a seat in parliament.

Many link her One Nation party’s brand of populism with President Trump’s policies, especially her call for a ban on Muslim immigration into Australia.

But with just three senators and no members in the lower House of Representatives, her party’s influence is sometimes overstated.

Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘Billy has a go at Cory for Archy’ by John Skillington

The Labor Party leader came within a whisker of winning last year’s election, but his stature has suffered since.

Painted by his opponents as a man struggling to hold on to his job, Mr Shorten was recently the subject of a withering attack by the prime minister.

Mr Turnbull described Mr Shorten as “a simpering sycophant, blowing hard in the House of Representatives, sucking hard [on hospitality] in the living rooms of Melbourne.”

This picture shows how Mr Shorten is also unafraid to caricature his opponents, with a reference to right-wing senator Cory Bernardi, who he once described as a homophobe.

Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘No man is an island…but it’s worth a try’ by Vincent de Gouw

The former police officer is in charge of immigration, and so is responsible for Australia’s controversial offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

His candid comments regularly make the headlines, not least the suggestion that it was a mistake to resettle Lebanese Muslims in Australia.

But this image of a volcanic, man-mountain can be read in different ways.

Some insiders suggest he is best positioned to be the next PM if Mr Turnbull was toppled… there may be trouble brewing.

Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister

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Bald Archy Prize 2017

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‘A really good time’ by Amy Roser

Being prime minister of your nation should mean you’re having a ball, right?

Despite winning last year’s election, Mr Turnbull’s time in office has been beset with difficulties.

A wafer-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and the ever-present threat of a revolt in the party room will make it hard to create much of a legacy.

Plus having the White House press spokesman refer to you as “Mr Trumble” can’t be much fun.

The winner of the Bald Archy Prize 2017, a spoof of Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize, will be announced in Sydney later this year.

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