- Greens leader pleads for Labor preferences
- Labor deal likely to blunt Greens' chances in Senate re-vote
- Abbott's speech splits broker of Tasmanian forest agreement
It was Sunday night and Western Australia Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was on another four hour flight from Perth to Canberra.
A most polite spray
Boogieman politics: ScoMo
Is this pollie a parrot?
The great post-Gonski debate
Backpacker tax backdown
Plebiscite merry go round
Q&A: Birmo admits private schools over-funded
Ruby Hamad explores refugee narrative
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.
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.)
It appears to have struck a nerve right across the political spectrum.
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."