Imagine having a head of State who was calm, articulate, honest, dignified, compassionate, knowledgeable, respectful, practical, hard-working. The more I see of Scott Ludlam the more these words echo in my mind.
His maiden speech to the Senate in 2008 conjured up a future vision in which the right kinds of technology are used to deliver the right kinds of human outcomes, while the wrong kinds are left on the scrapheap of history as being inefficient and outmoded. The speech was peppered with words like “Pelton generators”, hot rocks technology, “large solar thermal plants”, “world-class broadband”, “fast, affordable mass transit”. He wondered what the human race might become if we harnessed our engineering potential, our skill with tools, in a much better way than we currently are — a way that would not be inherently harmful to our planet.
Renai LeMay wrote on Delimiter
“although the speech does build visions of a better future for humanity, its tone is not frivolous. Instead, the speech is delivered with a kind of cool implacability. A kind of quiet, relentless determination to see that vision realised, no matter how many obstacles stand in the way. The speaker is not a hothead. He contains an extremely slow burning fire within his modest frame. The speech doesn’t build castles in the air. It builds castles on the ground that will slowly but surely reach the air.”
The speech ends with a call to arms:
“We know that the media dines out on the spectacle of conflict and abuse which our Westminster system seems to imply. But in my very short time here it is already apparent that a vast amount of what the Senate does is based on collaboration, hard work and a certain grudging respect for different points of view. I really look forward to working with you as we bring our collective efforts, wisdom and good grace to bear on the challenges which confront us all.”
Those good intentions were more than just words as Ludlam has worked tirelessly in many areas. He is calm and methodical on the Senate floor and always seems to have a good understanding of the topic at hand.
The speech he gave on March 4 to a near empty Senate chamber, welcoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott to WA, went viral on social media and should be seen by all Western Australian voters.
As an example of his valuable work, in March it was announced that
“Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has taken out the Planning Champion Award at the 2014 National Awards for Planning Excellence for his work on urban infill development.
Senator Ludlam took out the award for his collaborative work with the WA Property Council on one of Perth’s most controversial planning issues: infill housing.
Senator Ludlam and the Property Council are calling for urban infill development in seven key transport corridors, including Charles Street, Fitzgerald Street, Scarborough Beach Road and Stirling Highway.
The judges of the awards said Senator Ludlam, who is the Greens spokesman on sustainable cities, infrastructure, housing and communications , was one of the most progressive, collaborative and prolific champions for better planning in Australia’s cities.
His other planning achievements included the WA 2.0 project, a light rail plan for Perth and Bike vision 2029.”
Scott Ludlam missed out by 14 votes in the September election, prompting the Greens to seek a recount, which changed the result in his favour before the debacle of the missing votes made the whole thing null and void.
The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green has calculated that “if you re-run last September’s Western Australian Senate election with the same votes, but using the new Senate preference tickets, then the result of the WA Senate re-election on April 5 would be 3 Liberal, 2 Labor and 1 Palmer United,” he said.
“For the re-election, several micro-parties have directed preferences in a way that now helps Labor to reach its second quota and makes it harder for the Green’s Scott Ludlam to win without a significant rise in his vote.
The Sports Party does not receive as many helpful preferences as last September. There is a subtle shift in the structure of the micro-party alliance, with a more obvious split between left-leaning and right-leaning micro-parties.
Unless the Liberals and Nationals fall dramatically short of three quotas, there are enough micro-party preferences floating around to ensure they win three seats between them. The biggest danger for the Liberals is probably losing a seat to the Nationals rather than to any other party.”
Voters can direct their own preferences by taking an extra 10 minutes to vote below the line and number every box thus making sure your vote goes where you intend it to and undermining the crazy deals done by all parties.
Which brings me to the title of this article.
Anyone watching Bronwyn Bishop’s performance as Speaker will realise that our current Parliament is a debacle under her stewardship. It makes a total mockery of the system and renders chamber sitting a pointless exercise where nothing is achieved, though it could be argued that this has been the case for a long time.
Senate elections have become a joke with ballot papers the size of tablecloths and organising preference deals an industry within itself. Few people understand the mechanism and it can result in candidates who receive a miniscule number of votes being elected, some of whom are patently not qualified to make decisions on the governing of this country.
The two party system is leaving many people feeling unsatisfied as they see little leadership from either of the major parties. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to trust the person in the top job to be making decisions in the best interests of the future of our country rather than always feeling like they are saying things just to get re-elected.
We need to change our political system. The archaic ritual of the Westminster system has seen its day. It is well past time that Australia truly became a nation in its own right with a head of state who actually lives in the country and has some idea of our political needs. Could Scott Ludlam be that person? He is young but shows great potential and to lose him from the political arena would be a great shame.
A Republic is still quite a way off, though Tony’s dames and knights ridiculosity may have given the debate another kick start. Today there are more pressing issues, namely the Senate election in WA tomorrow.
To the people of Western Australia, I would ask you to think about what sort of future you want for your children and consider wisely the importance of your contribution to keeping the Senate as a genuine House of Review rather than a rubber stamp.
Can we rely on the largesse and altruism of Gina Rinehart to show loyalty to her employees, to use some of her vast wealth to boost local employment rather than importing 457 visa workers, and to willingly pay taxation on the billions she makes developing our resources? Can we rely on the Coalition and the Palmer United Party to do what must be done to address climate change? Are health and education priorities for conservative governments?
As I have said before, our fate lies in your hands Western Australia. Think carefully before you vote.