Burn the Butterflies is a 1979 TV movie about uranium mining.
It was written by Cliff Green who described it as an "experiment"
Cheeky me wanting to push the boundaries and do a drama within another drama, which moved in real time and was relatively cheap to make... There was a crisis in Government and there were news teams filming what was happening. And that was the documentary that was a fake documentary. And all the action, all the on-stage action (if that is the right word) was happening in the Prime Minister’s suite in Canberra—so the way he was reacting, and who he was talking to—it was almost a one-man show. And it was beautifully performed. By Ray Barrett. It was wonderful.
Green says the idea to make the film came out of a week he had spent in Canberra for the Australian Writers Guild lobbying for the arts budget.
We brought up the highflyers from Australian Opera, and the ballet, and the Sydney Theatre Company—but we did the hard work. We knocked on the doors and we faced the politicians. And I understood, at the end of that, how that place worked. And it was nothing like how we thought it worked. And if I had decided that I would like to do a Canberra-based piece and set myself, and got up and become a member of the press corps for a few weeks I wouldn’t have got it. It was being in there, and understanding the contradictions, and the layers of commitment and attitude, and so on, that brought it on, that gave me the confidence to write it.