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Ukulele was a dangerous weapon in PM’s hands, says cartoonist Mark Knight

Mark Knight, February 17, 2022 6:00PM Kids News

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Security agents fail to protect the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, from the great harm of playing a ukulele and singing on national television in Mark Knight’s cartoon. media_cameraSecurity agents fail to protect the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, from the great harm of playing a ukulele and singing on national television in Mark Knight’s cartoon.


Reading level: orange

When politicians hit the campaign trail*, a switch inside their head flicks to election mode and strange things start to happen.

They can be seen walking through shopping centres shaking hands and kissing babies. You will often see them wearing hard hats and high vis vests, pointing at holes in the ground. They make outrageous promises a lot too.

In the last week we have seen the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, behave a little strangely.

Just recently he was spotted in a hairdressing salon behind the basin, washing a woman’s hair in front of the TV cameras and newspaper photographers.

PRIME MINISTER media_cameraThe Prime Minister tries his hand at hairdressing for the cameras on a recent visit to a salon in the Melbourne suburb of Mount Eliza. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Is hairdressing his new side hustle*, I thought? Are we paying him enough?

Turns out it was an election campaign photo opportunity.

The public’s reaction to it was not that favourable. It was seen as weird to have the PM running his chubby fingers through some woman’s hair. I have to agree.

But that did not dissuade* the Prime Minister of Australia from venturing into the world of election campaign stunts yet again!

It was during a 60 Minutes interview at his family home. We were being given an exclusive look into the private life of the Morrison family and a glimpse of what a regular guy our Scott is.

All was going well until ScoMo pulled out a ukulele* at the dinner table and began to attempt to play the 1977 hit song “April Sun in Cuba” by the band Dragon. I felt for his two young daughters sitting at the table.

Scott Morrison media_cameraPrime Minister Scott Morrison strums his ukulele at the family dinner table during an interview for television program 60 Minutes.

Todd Hunter, an original member of the band, politely commented on the PM’s “reharmonisation*” of the song. Ouch!

This called for a cartoon! The first thing I did was to start sketching the Prime Minister playing a ukulele. He’s a big bloke and it is quite humorous to draw his big paws holding this tiny little instrument.

The political significance of playing a ukulele was not lost on a public still getting over the 2019-20 bushfires. We all recall at the time that despite the growing fire danger, the Prime Minister took his family overseas for a vacation in Hawaii.

Photographs of the east coast of Australia going up in flames as the leader of the country holidayed overseas did not go down well.

The ukulele is synonymous* with Hawaii and Mr Morrison playing it on national television reignited anger over his absence during a national crisis.

And then there was the daggy dad thing. People felt ScoMo was overdoing that a bit.

As an election approaches Australians are looking for strong leadership after two years of the Covid pandemic, lockdowns and total upheaval in their lives – not ScoMo butchering a classic Aussie hit song!

So the verdict was that the uke copped a public rebuke*.

media_cameraAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems to love his ukuleles, this time presenting one to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who shows his appreciation with some air guitar, on a visit to the Solomon Islands in 2019. Picture: AAP

Having drawn ScoMo strumming away, I wondered what my punchline* would be?

The event had not helped the PM’s cause, in fact it may have hindered it. How could I illustrate this in a humorous way?

I thought about the PM’s security officers from the Australian Federal Police. They are the agents that you see around the PM when he is out in the public. They have those earpiece things and wear dark sunglasses. Their job is to protect our leader, to keep him safe from harm. In movies you see them leaping in front of crazed gunman or terrorists. I wondered if I could use them here?

That ukulele did quite a bit of damage! So I started to sketch Federal Police officers diving towards the Prime Minister to defend him from harm; trying to get that ukulele from his grasp before he strummed that first fatal chord!

Alas, as the cartoon shows, they were too late and he strum-bled (that’s a word I just invented) his way through the chorus as a nation screamed. Damage done.

The cartoon seeks to show how some election campaign stunts can backfire. Ukuleles are now on the prohibited* weapons list.


  • campaign trail: the period before an election when politicians go all out to try to win votes
  • side hustle: a job on the side, not someone’s main job
  • dissuade: persuade not to do something
  • ukulele: a small four-stringed guitar of Hawaiian origin
  • reharmonisation: to provide a new or different harmony to an existing song or piece of music
  • synonymous: to have a well known link to something
  • rebuke: show sharp disapproval or criticism
  • punchline: the last part of a joke, story or cartoon that explains the meaning or makes the point
  • prohibited: banned


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  1. What instrument did Scott Morrison play?
  2. Which television program did he appearing on when he was playing the instrument?
  3. What song did he play?
  4. What is the other “election campaign photo opportunity” performed by the Prime Minister that Mark Knight mention in his story?
  5. What is Mark Knight trying to show with his cartoon?


1. What happens next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark Knight’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark Knight need to do their job.

Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design

Imaginative dialogue
Imagine you were there during the event portrayed in Mark Knight’s cartoon.

Create a conversation between two characters from the article – you may need or want to include yourself as one of the characters. Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

Extra Reading in civics