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‘Question Time!’ Board Game #2014-0095

‘Question Time’ board game, comprising thick laminated cardboard game board, plastic playing pieces, cardboard cards and two paper booklets.


This board game was first created for the 50th birthday of Senator John Faulkner, whom the creator knew socially. The original was a political-based trivia game, and Faulkner suggested an effort be made to develop the concept further. The creator, Tess Shannon, and her business partner Libby Blainey took out a loan to finance the endeavour and spent almost a decade creating, researching, designing and refining the game until they believed it was ready for release.

From the board game designers’ website:

‘Tess and Libby have been developing Question Time! ® for seven years. Originally Tess developed the board game as a birthday gift for a friend—a political aficionado. The game was played at the birthday party and Tess was encouraged to develop the game further. At this stage it was a straight question and answer game and first around the board won.

Enter Libby Blainey. Libby is a board game enthusiast. Her first question to Tess was “what are the strategies to win the game?” This was a key moment in the development of the game. Strategy became the main focus to winning the game.

Both Tess and Libby recognised that many Australians don’t know much about Australian politics and political history. By introducing strategy cards into the game play Bingo! Anyone could win provided they used these cards wisely and played them with rat cunning against other players! “The idea is to win, at any cost – just like the real thing!”

Libby also brought her experience and skills as a successful graphic designer to the game and the results speak for themselves. The game is visually beautiful, reflecting the ambiance of the Australian House of Representatives, as well as the history of the Australian parliament with all the past Prime Ministers represented on the board.’

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Statement of values

This board game is historically significant as an example of material culture focusing on Australian political debate and discourse in the 20th and early 21st century. This is not an amateur effort; it is a polished, professional product which has been produced for sale. This demonstrates the passion of the creators to make something educational, informative and entertaining which relates to this aspect of Australian culture.

There is historical and social significance in the public democratic institution the game (rather backhandedly) celebrates. The game contributes to public understanding of parliamentary question time; one of Australia’s most recognisable (and criticised) political institutions. The requirement for ministers to be accountable to parliament and answer questions from members is a key part of Australia’s parliamentary democracy, and the often raucous behaviour of parliamentarians during this period has become an Australian cultural icon. The game uses this idea as part of its theme and gameplay—answering questions and undermining opponents are both aspects of the game. The designers have recognised question time as the most well-known aspect of Australian parliamentary politics, and have used a pun to reflect the gameplay, in which answering questions on political and policy issues is the key to winning. This contrasts, perhaps, with the common perception that politicians in the ‘real’ Question Time don’t answer questions at all, instead obfuscating and attacking their opponents.

There is significance in the game’s subject matter and theme and how they relate to Australian attitudes. Politics has been described often as a ‘game’, and the creation of a politically-themed game, ostensibly to educate and inform Australian about political procedure and history raises a number of questions. Is politics actually a game, or a serious business? Is the perception of politicians as self-serving and untrustworthy accurate? The game actively encourages players to undermine one another, and there are cards, such as ‘the rat’, which allow players to use questionably ethical tactics in order to win. The game’s website explains ‘the idea is to win, at any cost!’ Many political leaders would take exception to describing their profession in such terms. Indeed, politics is often based around compromise and ideological commitment to a cause. Ironically, rather than challenging public perceptions the game adheres to the commonly-held view of politics and political debate.

  • ‘Question Time!’ Board Game‘Question Time!’ Board Game —
  • ‘Question Time!’ Board Game‘Question Time!’ Board Game —


Width Game Board: 612mm
Height Game Board: 612mm
Depth Game Board: 3mm
Creator’s name Backflip Productions
Date created 2013