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Police roadblock in the way of Premier’s getaway

Mark Knight, July 16, 2020 6:30PM Kids News

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Par of Mark Knight’s cartoon. media_cameraPar of Mark Knight’s cartoon.


Reading level: orange

Just when we thought we were on our way out of the coronavirus and life returning to something resembling* normal, the wheels fell off big time in Victoria.

COVID-19 community transmitted cases started increasing dramatically and soon it was learned that the outbreaks were coming from returned overseas travellers’ hotel quarantine sites in Melbourne. We learned that security guards on these crucially* important infection control centres were poorly trained and behaved unprofessionally.

Astoundingly*, we were told that not all returned travellers were tested for the virus, with 30 per cent of them refusing the test.

From there the virus escaped to high-rise public housing in North Melbourne and Flemington and we witnessed people forced to stay in their tiny apartments under a hard lockdown, this time enforced by police.

With the virus out and about in Victoria and spreading, the rest of Australia started closing their borders to “personae non gratae*” Victorians.

First it was NSW then South Australia shut the gate. Victoria was isolated!

In a bid to get things back under control the Victorian government closed off the Melbourne metropolitan area from the rest of the state and went back to stage 3 restrictions. Businesses like pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres all had to close again.

Police put up roadblocks to stop people moving about and big fines for breaching* the new restrictions were handed out. Seems like the second wave was upon us.

Being a political cartoonist, people say to me, “You’ve got so much material to work with, it must be great!”

True, but with the coronavirus things change so quickly, events move on rapidly so I have to be following things very closely. And there are not many laughs in a viral* pandemic!

The second wave in Victoria was the big story so I turned my mind to it. I thought about how tough the Premier Dan Andrews had been on Victorians during the first stages of the virus earlier in the year. He was harder on restrictions than any other state. Vics couldn’t play golf, go fishing or even visit their mums on Mother’s Day!

And now Victoria was the worst performing state due to a haphazard* approach to hotel quarantine.

The Premier’s response was to send it off to an inquiry in September. He also blamed the rise in infections on the public for becoming lax* in social distancing and safe behaviour.

As leader, I felt he was ducking responsibility or “blame shifting” on this one. He has a very tough job in these trying times, but this was a major malfunction* and I felt the need to comment in my cartoon.

My idea was to draw Mr Andrews trying to escape responsibility at a time when, ironically*, the police were ordered to prevent peoples’ movement. Then the image came to me of the Premier attempting to get as far away as he could from the troubling issue but running into a police roadblock. So the drawing took shape with the Premier in his car stopped at a roadblock and a policeman saying to him that his reason for being out (running away from responsibility) is unfortunately not a valid one!

Right-click with your mouse on the cartoon below and open in new tab for full-sized image

Mark Knight's cartoon sdkjf hdgk hgdkdh media_cameraMark Knight’s cartoon.

I like to combine a number of issues into one cartoon if I can. It gives the cartoon more depth and helps explain complex political situations.

Here we have combined police roadblocks with the political issue of responsibility for the hotel quarantine failure. This is called conflation, the forcing of two issues into one.

PREMIER PRESSER media_cameraVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews holds a press conference in Melbourne on July 16 to discuss the latest COVID-19 figures. Picture: David Crosling


  • resembling: looking or seeming like something else
  • crucially: vitally, very importantly
  • astoundingly: incredibly
  • personae non gratae: plural of persona non grata,which is Latin for “person not appreciated”
  • breaching: breaking, as in breaking a rule
  • viral: to do with a virus
  • haphazard: without any plan or pattern
  • lax: slack
  • malfunction: went wrong
  • ironically: done in a way that is directly opposite to what is expected


Getting used to our strange ‘new normal’

Virus spread leads to remote learning return


  1. Why is the police officer stopping cars at the checkpoint?
  2. Of which state is Daniel Andrews the Premier?
  3. Who is the cartoonist?
  4. Who wrote this article about the cartoon for Kids News?
  5. What colour is the car?


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’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the other two cartoons that tell the story, either before or after this one.

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

2. Extension
‘To be a great cartoonist, being able to draw is only one of the skills that you need.’ Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark 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

Stretch your sentence
Find a ‘who’ in the cartoon. A person or animal.

Write it down.

Add 3 adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What news would you like to draw a cartoon about? Why?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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