The Cartoonist

John Gorton is on a stage wearing an acrobat’s costume, precariously balancing Gordon Freeth on one arm, Dudley Erwin on the other and William McMahon doing a handstand on Gorton’s head. Gough Whitlam sits in a viewing box armed with a slingshot, taking aim at Gorton.

Opening Night!

The Herald, 25 February 1969

In early 1969, External Affairs Minister Paul Hasluck was knighted and appointed as the next Governor-General.

His departure led Prime Minister John Gorton to reshuffle the cabinet, promoting Gordon Freeth to Hasluck’s old position and Dudley Erwin to replace Freeth as Air Minister.

Frith suggested the new ministry was a delicate balancing act, with Gorton juggling his new ministers and the ambitious Treasurer, William McMahon, as Gough Whitlam, Leader of the Opposition, threatened to bring the whole act crashing down.

This cartoon was published on the day Parliament resumed with the new ministers yet untested.