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So smart. Green senator Ludlam ‘welcomes’ Abbott to WA

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 pm, March 6th, 2014 - 29 comments
Categories: australian politics, greens, video, youtube - Tags: , ,

One of the most effective political videos that I have seen from a country that is coming to specialise in them. I’m unsurprised that it went completely viral.

It was a great description by Green senator Scott Ludlam of all of the ways that Tony Abbott is beholden to the interests of those made insane by idiotic greed – and welcoming him to Western Australia. All expressed in a polite quiet voice enumerating exactly how much of a arsehole Abbott is. Abbott even makes John Key look sort of rational – in a traditional junior partner kind of way.

YouTube link

Read this article in the  Sydney Morning Herald on the topic. Just don’t use their video link. It appears that they need a lot more bandwidth.

When Ludlam rose to speak just after 10pm on Monday only one other senator – Liberal Helen Kroger – was in the chamber. But the video of the speech has become an internet hit, with almost 280,000 YouTube views in three days, largely thanks to people “sharing” it on social media.

That’s not at the level of Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech – which has over two million views – but it’s more than Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations or Prime Minister Abbott’s Christmas address.

The youtube video now has 362k views and it looks like it starting to head off elsewhere.

Updated: transcript from Aussie Greens

Tonight I rise to invite Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit the beautiful state of Western Australia. I do this in good faith, because we are only a matter of weeks away from a historic by-election that will not just determine the final makeup of this chamber after July but also will decide much more of consequence to the people of Western Australia, whether they are thinking of voting for the Greens or not. Prime Minister, you are welcome out west, but this is a respectful invitation to think carefully about what baggage you pack when you make your next flying campaign stopover.

When you arrive at Perth airport, you will alight on the traditional country of the Whadjuk Nyoongar people, who have sung this country for more than 40,000 years. This is 200 times the age of the city that now stands on the banks of the Derbal Yerigan, the Swan River. Understand that you are now closer to Denpasar than to Western Sydney, in a state where an entire generation has been priced out of affordable housing. Recognise that you are standing in a place where the drought never ended, where climate change from land clearing and fossil fuel combustion is a lived reality that is already costing jobs, property and lives.

Mr Prime Minister, at your next press conference we invite you to leave your excruciatingly boring three-word slogans at home. If your image of Western Australia is of some caricatured redneck backwater that is enjoying the murderous horror unfolding on Manus Island, you are reading us wrong. Every time you refer to us as the ‘mining state’ as though the western third of our ancient continent is just Gina Rinehart’s inheritance to be chopped, benched and blasted, you are reading us wrong.

Western Australians are a generous and welcoming lot, but if you arrive and start talking proudly about your attempts to bankrupt the renewable energy sector, cripple the independence of the ABC and privatise SBS, if you show up waving your homophobia in people’s faces and start boasting about your ever-more insidious attacks on the trade union movement and all working people, you can expect a very different kind of welcome.

People are under enough pressure as it is without three years of this government going out of its way to make it worse. It looks awkward when you take policy advice on penalty rates and the minimum wage from mining billionaires and media oligarchs on the other side of the world-awkward, and kind of revolting. It is good to remember that these things are temporary. For anyone listening in from outside this almost empty Senate chamber, the truth is that Prime Minister Tony Abbott and this benighted attempt at a government are a temporary phenomenon. They will pass, and we need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture.

Just as the reign of the dinosaurs was cut short to their great surprise, it may be that the Abbott government will appear as nothing more than a thin, greasy layer in the core sample of future political scientists drilling back into the early years of the 21st century.

The year 2014 marks 30 years since the election of the first representative of what was to become the Greens-my dear friend and mentor Senator Jo Vallentine. She came into this place as a lone Western Australian representative speaking out against the nuclear weapons that formed the foundations of the geopolitical suicide pact we dimly remember as the Cold War.

Since the first day of Senator Vallentine’s first term, the Greens have been articulating a vision of Australia as it could be-an economy running on infinite flows of renewable energy; a society that never forgets it lives on country occupied by the planet’s oldest continuing civilisation; and a country that values education, innovation and equality. These values are still at the heart of our work; nowhere stronger than on the Walkatjurra Walkabout, which will set off again later this month to challenge the poisonous imposition of the state’s first uranium mine on the shoreline of Lake Way. As the damage done by the nuclear industry is global, so is our resistance.

Mr Abbott, your thoughtless cancellation of half a billion dollars of Commonwealth funding for the Perth light rail project has been noted. Your blank cheque for Colin Barnett’s bloody and unnecessary shark cull has been noted. Your attacks on Medicare, on schools funding, on tertiary education-noted. The fact that your only proposal for environmental reforms thus far is to leave Minister Greg Hunt playing solitaire for the next three years while you outsource his responsibilities to the same Premier who presides over the shark cull has been noted too.

You may not believe this, Prime Minister, but your advocacy on behalf of foreign biotechnology corporations and Hollywood’s copyright-industrial complex to chain Australia to the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been noted. People have been keeping a record of every time you have been given the opportunity to choose between predator capitalism and the public interest, and it is bitterly obvious whose side you are on.

So to be very blunt, the reason that I extend this invitation to you, Mr Prime Minister, to spend as much time as you can spare in Western Australia is that every time you open your mouth the Green vote goes up.

You and your financial backers in the gas fracking and uranium industries have inspired hundreds of people to spend their precious time doorknocking thousands of homes for the Greens in the last few weeks.

Your decision to back Monsanto’s shareholders instead of Western Australian farmers has inspired people across the length and breadth of this country to make thousands of calls and donate to our campaign.

As for the premeditated destruction of the NBN and Attorney-General George Brandis’s degrading capitulation to the surveillance state when confronted with the unlawful actions of the US NSA-even the internet is turning green, ‘for the win’. Geeks and coders, network engineers and gamers would never have voted Green in a million years without the blundering and technically illiterate assistance of your leadership team.

For this I can only thank you.

And, perhaps most profoundly, your determined campaign to provoke fear in our community-fear of innocent families fleeing war and violence in our region-in the hope that it would bring out the worst in Australians is instead bringing out the best in us. Prime Minister, you are welcome to take your heartless racist exploitation of people’s fears and ram it as far from Western Australia as your taxpayer funded travel entitlements can take you.

What is at stake here, in the most immediate sense, is whether or not Prime Minister Tony Abbott has total control of this parliament in coming years. But I have come to realise that it is about much more than that. We want our country back. Through chance, misadventure, and, somewhere, a couple of boxes of misplaced ballot papers, we have been given the opportunity to take back just one seat on 5 April, and a whole lot more in 2016.

Game on, Prime Minister. See you out west.


29 comments on “So smart. Green senator Ludlam ‘welcomes’ Abbott to WA”

  1. Saarbo 1


    • weka 1.1

      Just awesome.

      “We want our country back”.

    • Colt 45 1.2


      I reakon.

      I’m still stunned how the Former Catholic semitarian rose to the heights of the Office of Prime Minister of Australia by charging right through the MSM – as they’re far too smart not to notice him go round them. Some people are just born bullies I suppose.

      Cunny’s twice as smart as Abbott, and he has all the resources of the exceptional kiwi MSM as well – ‘a shoe-in’ as they would say over in Aussie.

      Life’s gunna be good for us soon ‘ay mate!

      • greywarbler 1.2.1

        What’s that Colt 45? Sounds like drivel to me? Bit unco don’t ya think?

  2. Tamati 3

    What a fuck up their WA senate election was last time! Serious need of electoral reform.

  3. jbc 4

    That speech had a lot of great points. But we already knew Abbott was a nutjob before he was voted in. More’s the pity.

    Thinking about this more in an NZ context really shows that the 2-party system is flawed and MMP hasn’t really fixed that. In fact buying into the entire policy platform any one party is an exercise in futility.

    The narrow choice at election time throws away a huge amount of voter reasoning and the result does not necessarily bear any relation to the proportionality in our minds. We have to pick a winner or two. Forced to make such a compromise decision, many will put aside the ‘nice to have’ and choose for their personal wellbeing. That sucks. That leads to Abbotts.

    • weka 4.1

      NZ needs to be brave and finally vote Green. We don’t have a 2 party system, we have choices, the question remains why we don’t take them.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        And we need to have the MMP threshold reduced to 5%.

        we have choices, the question remains why we don’t take them.

        What we need are real choices, real alternatives, not another variant of vanilla being marketed as one.

        • weka

          Sure, but in the meantime, we still have another kind of real choice, which is to implement change in the right direction. That shouldn’t be underestimated or undervalued like it is now.

        • greywarbler

          Colonial V
          5%? I thought it already was. MMP was an attempt to change eh. But it has got gamed, and yet it wasn’t a mistake, it was a step.

          The Australian Senate got frozen at one stage with a religious individual like Craig holding the one important vote. The system needs to have an out when that happens. Simple majority just sets us up for a rort in those conditons.

      • jbc 4.1.2

        What if we don’t like the choices? Sorry I wasn’t clear on that.

        I’m an atheist. A free-thinking non-believer. Non tribal. I find the idea of having ‘faith’ in one political party abhorrent. I find Colin Craig and Russell Norman equally odious and my chances of voting for a party led by either of them is zero. The days of the inspirational political leader seem to be long gone.

        However I do really like some Green party policies, so there is the dilemma. I’m forced to throw away a good deal of my preferences no matter how I vote.

        It’s not about being brave. Sounds more like having faith, and I’m not going there.

        For a real contrast in how NZ politics has degenerated into a collection of sideshows – watch Frost interviewing Norman Kirk. If only we had someone like that today…


        • weka

          “However I do really like some Green party policies, so there is the dilemma. I’m forced to throw away a good deal of my preferences no matter how I vote.”

          Only if you belief that voting is about personal satisfaction. I don’t know where this idea comes from that we should get to vote for exactly what we want.

          If you want NZ to move back towards being country that gives a shit about things like fairness, community, helping vulnerable people, caring about the environment etc, it’s pretty bloody simple: vote Labour, GP or, depending on what electorate you vote in, Mana. If you want to up the chances of that change happening sooner rather than later, then vote GP, because they’re the only party that can make that shift happen now.

          Faith doesn’t have anything to do with it for me. I’m curious about what you mean by that. What makes you think you have to have faith in the GP to vote for them? What’s wrong with voting on their policies?

          • jbc

            “Only if you belief that voting is about personal satisfaction. I don’t know where this idea comes from that we should get to vote for exactly what we want.”

            That’s not what I said at all. You vote for what you think is best for NZ. People have different ideas about what is best. That is why Greens don’t get 100% of the vote.

            I’m saying that there is much more diversity of opinion than what we get to choose from. Ergo, voting is always going to be a compromise unless you are a ‘true believer’ and swallow the whole of any party manifesto as the one true thing.

            “Faith doesn’t have anything to do with it for me. I’m curious about what you mean by that. What makes you think you have to have faith in the GP to vote for them? What’s wrong with voting on their policies?”

            I was referring to bravery in: “NZ needs to be brave and finally vote Green.”

            Voting on policies is exactly what I’d like to do. I was simply lamenting that no party inspires me, and the whole scene seems to have degenerated into sideshows vying for public attention.

            This is only opinion, not directed at anyone in particular. And I’ll add once more for good measure: the Greens do have policies that I agree with in stark contrast to the present government.

            • weka

              “Ergo, voting is always going to be a compromise unless you are a ‘true believer’ and swallow the whole of any party manifesto as the one true thing.”

              ok, we are in agreement on that. Possibly where we differ is that I don’t see that as a problem.

              “I was simply lamenting that no party inspires me, and the whole scene seems to have degenerated into sideshows vying for public attention.”

              Well the GP in particular is between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t play the game they won’t get the MSM coverage and they won’t increase their vote. I don’t think we need inspiration to make a good voting choice. I suppose I think that this is the system we’ve got, so the point of voting isn’t to get the govt we want, it’s to move things in a better direction than now. That’s where NZ lacks guts imo. It’s not about faith so much as integrity.

        • Ant

          I’ve been put off the Greens by all the crap over David Hay, he seems like a dickhead, but the way they treat members that get on the wrong side of the head prefect’s clique makes me think they are no different to anyone else these days.

          • greywarbler

            If you start a group that decides to do something in society that is important to a great number of people, then there needs to be principles which get put in practice. Even if you play computer games Ant there are behaviours which you have to contend with. Everyone who doesn’t probably gets killed off.

            In real life people who join parties like the Greens try to run things so that people don’t get killed of, or run others into the ground. If you want to have a dichhead in parliament representing you, do vote National, you’re probably too good for ACT to bother with.

            • Ant

              I don’t know… it looks a bit too much like the polls showed his list position would put them in parliament then out came the knives. My comment is he reacted like a ‘dickhead’, but the guy does have legitimate grievances. I’d like to think I’d react differently in the same circumstance, but if I gave that much time and effort campaigning for a party in Tory HQ Epsom of all places just to get shafted, I’d be pissed too.

              It’s same level of unease I had with Goff when he hung Carter out to dry so he could look like the tough guy, the same unease I had for Shearer and co. when they hung Cunliffe out to dry.

              If the Greens want to act like that fine, so I might as well just vote red.

              Anyway this is pretty OT.

              • weka

                There is no problem with Hay being pissed off. The problem is his serious lack of judgement in how he handled things. A leadership challenge a few months out from a general election when the GP is polling well but still needs to gain ground? I’m glad they suspended his membership. His personal grievances don’t take precedent over the needs of the party.

  4. Philj 5

    Read the Greens transcript. Makes our Greens look meek and mild in comparison to this bold and defiant speech. Our Greens need more fibre in their muesli.

    • karol 5.1

      Did you hear or read Russel Norman’s speech at the opening of parliament in January this year?


      While on the one hand we have the choice of a genuinely progressive government, the alternative if the current government is given a third term will be a very different government to the one elected in 2008.

      It will be a hard-right government – economically, environmentally and socially, beholden to the damaged and discredited ACT, United Future, and Conservative parties.

      John Key’s claim to be a moderate has evaporated over the course of the last couple of years.

      He has overseen increasing water pollution, blocked attempts to set strong rules to clean up our rivers and subsidised polluting irrigation schemes.

      The government has destroyed a price on carbon and subsidised fossil fuels, with the result that New Zealand’s emissions are projected to increase 50 percent above 1990 levels by 2030; that’s according to Ministry for the Environment’s own projections.

      This government has made it that much harder for people to just get by.

      There are 50,000 more New Zealanders unemployed than when John Key first came to power.
      Median household income has fallen 4 percent after inflation under this National government.

      Electricity prices were up 3 percent last year despite falling demand, and rising mortgage rates this year will wipe out pay rises for many families.

      And this government has failed to manage the economy.

      Their irresponsible tax cuts to the top 10%, costing $1.1billion a year, have contributed to National’s record borrowing. In just six years, National has borrowed more than all prior governments combined.

      …. and so on… til

      Such a hard right government will further turn its back on science; climate science in particular, as Tony Abbot is doing across the ditch.

      Such a hard right government will take away the ladder of opportunity that many of us here climbed to achieve our potential.

      It will embrace the politics of the conservative right, who believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and a gay man’s place is in the closet.

      And it will turn its back on New Zealand’s opportunity to be a world leader in green economics and green jobs.

  5. karol 6

    I like that Senator Ludlam uses the same approach to speaking as the NZ Greens. Stating the facts, addressing the issues in a straightforward way, without all the loud rhetorical, combative posturing that is more usual in the NZ House.

  6. Jimbob 7

    I got bored. Far prefer this one and its a lot shorter…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH_MBwQhGgA

  7. Ron 8

    I see that the WA Senate is as bad as ours for attendance. I can only see 4 members present (disregarding the one that have to be there) and that is disgraceful. I expect all MP’s should be present in New Zealand House and whoever changed the rules to allow whips to make votes on behalf of members needs a lesson in representative democracy.
    Can anyone remember which government changed the rules in NZ?
    Oh for the days when every bill/speech/debate had a full house on both sides and it was pretty rare for leave to be given except for urgent business by ministers.

    • greywarbler 8.1

      I haven’t been watching NZ parliament much. I am so naive I thought that it was rare for MPs to be allowed out of school. Are you saying that they just leae it up to this pairing system so they could end up with under 10 in the House? No wonder they can build up other businesses. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile then. Another leady House debacle.

  8. Awesome speech. The point i think is the social media aspect – there have been good speeches here and when a good one is made it needs linking and sharing across the networks so more and more people see it. That speech was a very strong call to Green and really worked.

  9. Dingo 10

    What a disgusting parasite.

    [lprent: It often pays to say who you are abusing and explaining why. Please read our policy about pointless abuse and moderators responses to it. ]

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