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New Lamb Ad Roasts Australia Day, The PM And New Zealand

New Zealand is doing Australia better than we are.

That's the message from this year's Australian Lamb ad -- the annual Australia Day advertising tradition from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) that manages to make headlines year-on-year.

The TV spot follows a few modern-day politicians as they seek to make Australia "the greatest country on earth again" by essentially annexing New Zealand.

"We used to be the greatest country on earth, but we've lost the plot," says one bloke.

"Cheating at sport... can't even hang on to a prime minister." Behind him, a portrait of Malcolm Turnbull is replaced by Scott Morrison. He's not wrong.

Just wait until the moment Scott Morrison's portrait is taken off the wall. Photo: MLA.

It's based on the real-life event of Australia's first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, asking New Zealand to become a state of Australia when finalising the Constitution Act. Obviously, that didn't work out, but as this new campaign asks: we can still hope, right?

It's somehow both a departure of the overly political messages of campaigns past and yet captures the vibe that Australian politics is in the toilet, really. There's a One Nation joke in there, an understanding that New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern is just better than our political leaders, and sways dangerously close to a "Make Australia Great Again" vibe. Luckily, there are no red MAGA hats -- or should that be green and gold?

A tribute to all the stuff we've stolen from New Zealand anyway... including actor Russell Crowe. Photo: MLA.c

And yet, it wouldn't be an Australian Lamb ad in January without some kind of message about the divisiveness of Australia Day.

"We could even have a New Australia Day, on a date we can all agree on," the politicians propose to New Zealand's representatives, part of their pitch to create a new country that encompasses our Kiwi friends.

"Finally!" cheer Aussies in a floating barbecue nearby (it makes sense when you watch it).

Australian Lamb's ad campaigns have in years past flirted with controversy. Last year's riff on West Side Story proposed the healing nature of lamb to end Australia's never-ending culture wars -- succeeding mostly by making everyone hate it -- and the year before that it was a message about changing the date.

It's too early to see if this year's lamb ad will inspire angry talking heads, but honestly, that's almost become a tradition in itself.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au