I’m not a Cartoonist. I never have been. I won’t pretend to be one. But I am passionate about the cartooning medium in all its forms!
So much so, that in the past ten years, I have self-funded and self-published nine books on cartoonists: two on John Dixon’s works, two on Monty Wedd’s, one on Neil Matterson’s, one on Rob Feldman’s, one on Thomas Campi’s, an anthology of Australian comic stories, and a historical book detailing Australia’s comic book history from 1924 to 1965. I’ve also self-published nine issues of an Australian comic anthology series called Oi Oi Oi! that appeared on the national newsstands between 2014 and 2016.
I am telling you this, not to brag but to present to you my credentials. Because, like you, I am also a member of the Australian Cartoonists’ Association. You may have seen my name pop up once or twice in our Journal, Inkspot. I edited Issues #72 to #86. I was able to bring it back from the hit-and-miss venture it was when I took over the reins to a four-issues-a-year magazine worth reading. (Or, at least, that’s what I’d like to think!) I’m so pleased to see that current editor Steve Panozzo is maintaining this frequency.
In my working life, I am a Mental Health Clinician, working in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. I have worked there for the past ten years. I am usually the shift coordinator, and sometimes the Nurse Unit Manager (when my boss goes on holiday). I know how to lead a good – and safe – team. Today, I am coming to you to seek your support to lead our ACA Team: I am going to nominate later this year for the ACA’s Presidency.
I understand that the Australian Cartoonists Association has always had a Cartoonist as a President, and there will be a reluctance to vote for someone who is not a Cartoonist in the position. Hang on! Jim Bridges runs the Australian Cartoon Museum – he’s not a Cartoonist! Margaret Cameron manages the National Cartoon Gallery – she’s not a Cartoonist! There are precedents out there!
What do I hope to achieve as President?
- Greater communication between Committee and Members. If you bestow upon me the honour of being your President, I plan to release a regular communique to all Members (either on the ACA’s Facebook page or in an email like this) detailing the decisions made by our Committee at all meetings.
- An earlier decision made on Stanley dates and venues. Members need to know when and where the Stanley Awards (and Conference) are to be held, to allow time to better prepare for the weekend.
- An independent review of the ACA’s finances. Did you know the Association has a bank account that charges $15 a month to keep the account running? The Committee needs to find better ways to spend our Members’ hard-earned dues! (To be fair, the current Committee has taken action to alleviate the hardships that some members have faced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you know that? I want to be a President that communicates with you – and all members!)
- A plan to be put in place for the ACA’s 2024 Centenary Celebrations. It’s only a few more years and the world’s oldest Cartooning body – that’s us! – celebrates one hundred years of existence. What would the Membership like to see happen in 2024? Do we need or want greater community awareness of our Association?
- A vision for the future for the ACA. Presently, the ACA relies on sponsorship for major events like the Stanley Awards and the weekend conference. How do we learn to be more self-reliant in these days where sponsorship dollars are more difficult to come by? We need an Association able to articulate these plans!
- I organised the Queensland membership group’s meetings when US Cartoonist Jeff Keane and Chilean Cartoonist Rodolfo Aedo visited Queensland. I was able to alert Ian MacCall of Rodolfo’s plans to visit Melbourne, allowing the local ACA group there to meet him too!
- I worked behind the scenes to negotiate the donation of thousands of cartoons by Emile Mercier to the National Cartoon Gallery.
- I have judged two Rotary Cartoon Awards. (I won’t tell you which ones, lest you blame me for your not winning that year!)
- I not only took part in the ‘discovery’ of the original Stan Cross cartoon that our Stanley Awards are based on, but also worked behind the scenes (again!) to successfully negotiate the sale of the cartoon to the National Library of Australia.
- I’ve been the Lead Judge in the Ledger of Honour Awards for the past four years.
- I supported Bill Leak, Mark Knight and Warren Brown when others sought to vilify them.
- I took to Facebook to lead the emails of outrage at Ginger Meggs’ dropping, and to sing the praises of Ian Jones’ Bushy Tales success in the Sydney newspapers.