The Labor Party has celebrated its last Federal Budget for six years with a colourful Baz Luhrmann-directed spectacular in Canberra. Unfortunately for the government, initial reviews suggest that the nation’s critics were far from impressed.
“There were some nice touches,” acknowledged the critic from The Age. “Julia Gillard’s leap from a helicopter with a drag queen was a deft nod to Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony. The sight of a thousand child journalists emerging from the Budget lockup was also impressive. But behind the stunning visuals, the Federal Budget was ultimately a hollow exercise in absurdist excess.”
The critic from The Australian was less charitable.
“Unlike the current Labor government, Luhrmann clearly has a vision. Unfortunately this vision involves spending taxpayer money like there is no tomorrow. Perhaps I am being uncharitable. The current Labor government does have a vision and, with this spectacular waste of public funds, Luhrmann has rendered it splendidly.”
Another recurring theme has been Luhrmann’s inability to draw a credible performance out of Treasurer, Wayne Swan.
“Although Swan will never have the charisma of Leonardo DiCaprio, even Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle would have been more convincing as Treasurer,” wrote The Economist. “For people to believe in the Budget, they must believe that Swan knows something about economics. Painfully for everyone involved, Swan clearly does not.”
Critics also lamented the marginalisation of Senator Penny Wong. “Wong was under-utilised in the role of Finance Minister,” wrote The Guardian. “One can only wonder what the Budget would have been like if some of her intelligence and thoughtfulness was allowed to emerge through the babbling and bombast.”
But not everyone was disappointed with what they saw. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance was effusive about Luhrmann’s creation.
“A Federal Budget should be about jobs. This year’s Budget spectacular provided tens of thousands of jobs for Australian actors, circus performers, animal handlers and fire twirlers. Thank you, Baz!”
Is Baz being hard done by? Who would you like to see direct the Budget Spectacular next year?