Manic Studios – Tough Times

Australian Workers Film Guide


From the Fair Go For Billionaires campaign, this satirical commercial features fictional mining magnate Alan Billson riding on the bow of a motor yacht on Sydney Harbour and gorging on a seafood banquet on the deck. Billson proclaims “It’s tough times. The price of maintaining a fleet of yachts is at record highs, not to mention the soaring cost of caviar.”  He goes on to explain that’s why Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has promised to abolish the mining tax and “put 10.5 billion dollars back into the pockets of the ordinary, everyday billionaires, like me.” The commercial argues this is money that could be spent on schools, hospitals and roads.

Against the million dollar backdrop of Sydney Harbour bridge and framed by two bikini clad girls, Billson says, “Not everyone understands it’s tough at the top, Tony Abbott does.” It concludes with the text ‘ABBOTT UNDERSTANDS’, indicating Abbott’s support for billionaire mining magnates.

Fair Go For Billionaires was a CFMEU – Mining & Energy Division campaign opposing Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s promise to repeal the new Resources Tax, thereby diverting tax dollars intended for public purposes back to rich and powerful mining companies.

Special Notes/Achievements

Manic Studios was established for the trade union movement with the goal of producing satirical films and videos for union campaigns. Charles Firth, an Australian comedian and member of the famed The Chaser satirical comedy show, was the company’s creative director.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 30 secs

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Film Producer: Piers Grove, Xanon Murphy,

Film Writer: Charles Firth, Paddy Gorman,

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