From the Fair Go For Billionaires campaign, this satirical commercial highlights how mining companies divide and dominate by pretending to be the workers’ friend. The “worker’s friend”, portrayed by fictitious mining magnate Alan Billson, attempts to persuade BHP workers that unions only get in the way of the company looking after them, “…we’re not here to divide and dominate you, we love you guys….especially when you’re in small easy to pick off groups.”
Billson argues they want to share their profits with the workers and have to ‘the best’ like the mining magnates do – wine cellars, Lamborghinis, roast pigs, yachts, string quartets. Billson is seen enjoying these luxury items. According to Billson unions will just get in the way of them giving these things to workers, even “the right to avoid your family while working through Christmas. We do.” He goes on to promise that the company will look after them, “after all, we look after ourselves”.
This is followed by grabs of Billson enjoying the fruits of wealth – large estates, tennis courts, being fed grapes, holding a $100 bill in his Lamborghini, using a worker as a foot rest, a seafood banquet on Sydney Harbour, pots of money stuffed into a personal safe. Concluding with the words ‘Trust me’, Billson is seen speaking off camera confirming that the strategy is to divide and dominate the workers, so they can do whatever they want and he can get himself another yacht. When told that the camera is still rolling, he looks into the camera and accuses the camera operator of deliberately recording his conspiratorial remarks. “You left that on intentionally, didn’t ya! Bloody workers you’re all the same. Can’t do as you’re told”, Billson then throws his champion profit award trophy at the camera, shattering the lens, followed by a boot to the camera on the floor. We are left with the text, ‘DIVIDE DOMINATE DICTATE’ and ‘You know what they are doing.’
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.
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