A most polite spray
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam invites Tony Abbott to visit Western Australia - and then unloads on the Prime Minister in a Senate speech earlier this week that has since gone viral.PT7M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-348ra 620 349 March 6, 2014
There is nothing more popular on the internet than pornography, and that extends to political pornography, the territory of trolls and zealots. Senator Scott Ludlam knows this, and Ludlam is fighting for his survival. He has only just narrowly averted disaster and now he is appealing to the fringe because he cannot appeal to the majority.
He cannot appeal to the majority because he has a dim view of the great majority of Australians who supported the major parties, especially the millions who voted for the Coalition in recent elections, offering a portrait of a homophobic, xenophobic prime minister manipulating a legion of rednecks, all without bothering to lay out evidence beyond his own opinions. He believes that when this era of politics is viewed by history, a time when conservative governments are in power across most of the country, it will be seen as ''a thin, greasy layer'' in the political history of the nation.
Scott Ludlam: fighting for his survival. Photo: Screen grab
Ludlam is the Greens senator for Western Australia. In the Senate on March 3, at the end of a diatribe against Prime Minister Tony Abbott and, by extension, the majority of Australians who put the Coalition in power with a large majority, Ludlam exclaimed: ''We want our country back!''
You might ask who is ''we''? And who owns ''our country''? Because 92 per cent of Australians rejected the Greens at the last federal election, just as at least 90 per cent of Australians have rejected the Greens in recent federal, state and local elections. They have lost their balance of power in the Senate in a comprehensive rejection. They have just lost balance of power in Tasmania in a political rout.
Yet Ludlam went on: ''In Western Australia is that every time you [Abbott] open your mouth the Green vote goes up.''
Excuse me? Did not the people of Western Australia just deliver a sharp 4.5 per cent swing against Ludlam and the Greens in WA? So much so that he was voted out after one term in office, then survived on a recount, by a wafer-thin margin, and now all six Senate seats in WA are up for a special election in less than two weeks, on April 5. Because, in an election that was so close, it was tainted by the mysterious loss of 1375 ballot papers.
Yet Ludlam, a political staffer before he became a politician, carries on as if he owns the place. He presents a spray of personal abuse while presenting himself as a custodian of compassion, reasonableness and vision. This is fraudulent. It is the worst case of the politics of ''no'' that have been practised by the Greens despite a structural impasse and a sequence of political disasters:
Tasmania 2014: On March 15, the Greens suffered a heavy 7.5 per cent negative swing, lost two of their five seats in the Tasmanian House of Assembly, and comprehensively lost the balance of power, with the Liberals forming government. Tasmania is the state where the Greens had the highest profile and most influence and this result was a serious rejection by voters.
South Australia 2014: In the state election, also on March 15, the Greens gained a tepid swing despite the unpopularity of the Labor government and the car industry basically shutting down on the watch of federal Labor and the federal Coalition. The only shift in seats was to the Liberal Party.
Federal election 2013: In the federal election last September, the national vote for the Greens collapsed 28 per cent from its result in 2010, down to 8.4 per cent.
Miranda byelection 2013: In a byelection last October the Greens vote was slashed in half from 8.8 per cent in 2011 to 4.4 per cent.
NSW local elections 2012: In the state-wide local government elections in September, the swings against the Greens were biggest in the areas where they had exercised the most power: down 12 per cent in Woollahra, down 11 per cent in Leichhardt, 10 per cent in Canterbury, 9 per cent in City of Sydney.
There is no way to put a positive spin on this for the Greens but they carry on as if nothing has changed, mandates don't exist, conceding nothing, blocking everything. This is the politics of narcissism. The Greens are never wrong. Only the wider electorate is wrong.
So it is with Senator Ludlam, whose primary tactic is to run against Abbott in a campaign of personal abuse, a tactic which failed disastrously for Julia Gillard. But Ludlam is not targeting the broad electorate. So on March 3, he delivered a speech loaded with personal abuse and there is nothing more popular on the fringes than personal abuse. Social media has taught us that. Here are just some of his clickbaits:
''Mr Prime Minister … 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 … ''
''… you show up waving your homophobia in people's faces''. (Not a word of evidence was put forward for this insult, which also insulted Abbott's sister, Christine Forster, who is gay and close to her brother.)
''Boasting about your ever-more insidious attacks on the trade union movement and all working people …''
''It looks awkward when you take policy advice … from mining billionaires and media oligarchs on the other side of the world - awkward, and kind of revolting.''
''You and your financial backers in the gas fracking and uranium industries …''
''… your heartless racist exploitation of people's fears''.
With Ludlam's political survival at stake, he chose to take the path of political pornography.