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Greens senator Scott Ludlam's blunt speech to an almost empty room goes viral

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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.

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It was Sunday night and Western Australia Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was on another four hour flight from Perth to Canberra.

It appears to have struck a nerve right across the political spectrum. 

A glass of red wine on the tray table, a blank word document flickering on the laptop screen.

As the plane crossed the Great Australian Bight, Ludlam began writing his final Senate speech before West Australian voters decide his fate in the state's Senate re-election.

The lengthy commute between WA and Canberra has cut short political careers and strained families, but it has one advantage.

"There's no internet, you can't take phone calls," Ludlam says. "It is good creative time. I just wanted to get all this stuff off my chest."

Ludlam decided to frame the seven-minute speech (see video of the speech above) as a direct address to Tony Abbott, inviting the Prime Minister to rethink stereotypes of the wildflower state.

"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," he wrote.

"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."

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. (As of Friday afternoon the number of views of the speech had hit 480,000.)

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.

It's a welcome burst of attention for the Greens' communications and nuclear spokesman, who is battling to hold on to his WA Senate seat.

That task will be even harder if Labor preferences minor parties before the Greens, as Fairfax Media has reported.

"When you do a speech at 10 at night in an empty chamber and then it gets this reaction - I'm gobsmacked actually," Ludlam said. "It appears to have struck a nerve right across the political spectrum.

"Many people have said: 'I'm not a Green, I'm a Liberal or Labor voter but I have shared it."

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316 comments

  • Well people might be struggling with housing costs, but an entire nation and economy have been priced out of easily affordable energy.

    Just ask Qantas, Alcoa and Holden.

    Commenter
    Hacka
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    March 06, 2014, 1:51PM
    • Whatever are you on about Hacka?
      Well people? What about the unwell?
      Easily affordable energy?

      Commenter
      ASK
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:17PM
    • Oh Hacka, you just can't help yourself, can you? Your name must be Peta Credlin. One eyed and always right; far right!

      Commenter
      Open Window
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:23PM
    • "Easily affordable" energy, Hacka. Affordable energy would do me.

      Haven't you heard the good news ? Australia is open for business, the business of business is business, international markets, not affordable energy for Australian manufacturing, let alone for you and I. Patch up your old hot water bottle and get out the old video tapes of 'Bewitched', Hacka. It's going to be a long winter.

      Commenter
      Diana
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:32PM
    • Yeah Hacka, most people I know are out on the streets and living under cardboard.

      Commenter
      jofek
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:44PM
    • Hacka, solar panels on my roof pay for half of my energy cost and when the panel price drop further more will be installed and I can basically disconnected from the grid - who really care about carbon tax, beside people are amply compensated for the carbon tax - up to $10/week by the ALP government - Abbott in his vote buying wisdom promised to keep the compensation but remove the Tax - so much for fiscal responsibility. No wonder why Hockey is struggling to make any head or tail out of the up coming budget. This is one of the promise Abbott is surely going to break if he is successful in removing the Tax. In the heat of electioneering (even though the election is well and truly over) he forget that removing this CT also lighten the national purse string up to 6.4 billion dollars - On on hand you guys complaint bitterly about the CT on the other you are happy to pocket the money - so what's it be ?

      Commenter
      Mais51
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:48PM
    • Dead right Hacka. That lowering of wages has really made the energy prices unaffordable. Expect a tsunami of complaints when the plebs receive a minor reduction, if any, when the carbon price goes, only to be ramped up again as the great big PPL tax kicks in. And all without penalty rates and on Gina's $2/day.

      Commenter
      bg2
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:51PM
    • Hacka - a well known supporter of the "thin greasy layer".

      Commenter
      kcabotkcab
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:52PM
    • I think Hacka is referring to the carbon tax, although (s)he doesn't seem quite sure today. It was a magnificent speech. Not only do I want Ludlam for PM, I am going to repay his eloquence and start voting Green.

      Commenter
      Pamplemousse
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:57PM
    • Mais51 - the CT is a net cost to government, due to the generous compensation provisions. But yes, we also have solar panels but still seem to cop energy bills running into a few thousand each year, such is the cost of power these days. Thanks Jules, thanks Scott.

      jofek - sorry to hear that. They must really look up to you, with access to a computer and broadband etc.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 06, 2014, 2:58PM

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