Redditt, you are awesome. I enjoyed this one even more than the first one - thanks for being questioning, opinionated and argumentative. see you at the next one, and seriously, if you have time to help out, throw us a few bucks or give us a few hours on election day, please go here ( and hopefully all the greens crew up for election come out the other side. including me. see you then, with thanks.


Hi again Redditors, I'm Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens Senator up for re-election this year in Western Australia.

The election is only 5 days away and I want to talk about what's important to you and what's important this election. I also really want to talk about my work in online communication, data retention and spookery.

A bit about my work since my last AMA in May:

I introduced the Get A Warrant Bill into the Senate which requires law enforcement to apply normal warrant procedures to access telecommunications data and also a Bill to reform Copyright Law

I have been campaigning strongly for social housing to end homelessness and helping farmers sell direct to people, and with the community radio sector we won 6 million to keep 37 stations online (

I have been trying to get answers about Australia's role in PRISM NSA debacle but there is a black out from the major parties and the media are reluctant to push, although look out for an upcoming 4 Corners program.

A bit [about me] is here ( and [more about my digi comms work] is here (

Go on. Ask Me Anything.

My Proof:

Comments: 440 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

occer73 karma

Hey Scott, I'm a current ALP member thinking of joining the Greens because the ALP has generally gotten terrible on every front.

The major parties are getting increasingly cartelised and I can't help but be pessimistic that vested interests will be able to ram through whatever draconian legislation they want. There seems to be a lack of decent backbench rebels in either major party here and I'm certain that something like the Amash Amendment in the USA wouldn't get traction in Canberra.

What can I do to stop the erosion of digital and civil liberties in Australia? Outside of small protests about things like SOPA/PIPA, what is there?

P.S. What the Wikileaks Party have done to you in W.A. is absolutely terrible, if there were more people like you in parliament the Senate would be a much better place. Best of luck for reelection.

scott_ludlam87 karma

hey ps please join the greens that would be excellent.

scott_ludlam79 karma

thanks and cheers. what can we do - i think the sopa/pipa campaigns worldwide, and the campaigns here against the net filter and data retention are examples of people using the medium in defence of itself. raggedy and decentralised, but extremely effective. the problem is we're winning battles but losing the war.

we launched an initiative last week to start the process of rolling back the surveillance overreach which involves including security agencies under the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act reporting requirements, Mandatory Data Breach notifications by industry and government, IT providers to inform customers of agreements to provide information to governments, a new Five Eyes agreement protecting privacy of citizens and bringing security agencies within the ambit of the FOI Act. It’s a start, but we have a very long way to go.

Fudgeh0g18 karma

Hey Scott, do you want us west Aussies to vote above or below the line this weekend?

scott_ludlam32 karma

totally up to you. if you vote above the line for the greens and I don't get elected (bummer), here's where your vote will go:

Greens, Wikileaks, Secular Party, Animal Justice, HEMP, Stable Population, Australian Sports Party, Democrats, No Carbon Tax, Sex Party, ALP, Family First, Palmer, Katter, Socialist Equality, Nationals, Liberal party, Australia Voice, Motoring Enthusiasts, Smokers’ Rights, Australian Christians, Fishing and Lifestyle, Shooters and Fishers, Lib Dems, One Nation, Stop the Greens, Rise Up Australia

if you're ok with that general fall of the cards, vote above the line. if not, shuffle up the order some.

NeilNeilOrangePeel6 karma

You got your order wrong.

You didn't preference the "No Carbon Tax" party between Democrats and Sex Party. They are between Smoker's Rights and Australian Christians.

Incidentally.. why do you preference the Socialist Equality Party after Family First?

WA Senate Group Tickets

scott_ludlam22 karma

because they are terrible.

scott_ludlam61 karma

ok. hai redditt.

Zagorath43 karma

Hey Mr Ludlum, I absolutely loved watching you grill Senator Conroy over the privacy/censorship issue a while back, and I'm a bit upset you're not from my state so I could be voting for you!

I actually plan to vote [1] Pirate Party, and one of my main reasons for that is their policies on copyright and patents (detailed below). What are the Greens policies in this area—particularly regarding the patents, I noticed your original post has something vague regarding Fair Use—and might they be persuaded to adopt some of the PP's policies? (Still going to be voting [1] Green in the Reps, and preferencing Greens ahead of Labor in the Senate, though!).

Thanks so much for doing another AMA. Your last one was incredible, I hope this one is just as good!

Reduce patent terms to 5 years

Increase cost of obtaining software patents and remove function-based software patents (patents on the end result of the software).

Require the patent to be in use in order to litigate on it

Further "fair use" exceptions to copyright

scott_ludlam46 karma

ok. I have a Bill before the Senate that outlines 4 areas of copyright reform that I think are the most urgent ( , fair use, safe harbours, getting rid of geocodes and technological protection mechanism that stop the visually impaired getting access to information and culture.

did you know I have been made an honorary pirate?

scott_ludlam12 karma


shigawire36 karma

Also, what advice do you have for those of us that work in the telecommuncations industry, and loathe the violation of people's privacy, and are disgusted with censorship? My passion in life is built internets so people can get more learnings, and so they can communicate with others about cats, or about how being gay is totally okay when it's unsafe to come out in your home town, or learn about orbital mechanics when you flunked highschool. Unfortunately to do that in Australia at the moment I have to obey the creepy interception laws that make me sick.

I'm not going to shut up about how fucked the situation is to random people, but some days it would be really nice if people didn't think I was a member of the tinfoil hat brigade by pointing out as rationally as possible that we have dangerously low barriers for telecommunications interception.

scott_ludlam26 karma

wow, beautifully written. people like you give me hope. stuff that we both would have been fitted out for the tin foil a few months ago is now being dissected in public and is much better understood. keep at it.

orru27 karma

G'day Scott,

Just wondering, since it was asked on /r/Australia today, whether you could explain the Greens' policy on the NBN, and how it differs from the ALP's?

Thanks for coming back! We all appreciate it.

scott_ludlam53 karma

hoi, we support the building of a Fibre to the Home National Broadband Network. We won a set of amendments to prevent privatisation, so that the parliament has to decide if its in the public interest. The Coalition's Fraudband policy is faster and possibly cheaper for a reason: it provides a quick fix that we will regret. Their proposal would leave existing customers stranded on obsolete copper while new estates get glass fibre installed. It involves the installation of tens of thousands of powered cabinets on street corners around the country that would be enormously expensive to maintain and vulnerable to weather events. This approach was explicitly rejected in 2009, because it would be obsolete on the day it was built.

firebyte11 karma

What will you do to ensure that we continue to get Fibre to the Home if the Coalition is indeed elected?

scott_ludlam20 karma

well the best thing would be not to elect them. the second best thing would be to increase our senate numbers so we can stop them from unpicking the enabling legislation, but that's as murky as hell. to be honest, if they're elected we will do our best but they seem intent on stuffing the nbn. it's the kind of thing you can do if you're the government.

occer7 karma

I'd like to second this. If I remember correctly the ALP one has some element of privatisation and the Green plan doesn't.

scott_ludlam14 karma

yes that's right. we won that one, but if there's a change of government and we lose our senate numbers, there will be very little to privatise and it becomes a bit academic.

orru22 karma

Hi Scott, are you aware of the existence of the Scott Ludlam Appreciation Society? What's your reaction to it?

scott_ludlam37 karma

my reaction was one of horror and then grudging respect and finally resigned acceptance. i don't think i should become a member though.

TheresNoIinTeamocil21 karma

Hey Scott, what house do you think should sit on the Iron Throne and why? This is a very important question -- given the current state of politics and my overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, it could quite possibly be the one thing to change my vote.

scott_ludlam31 karma

ok hai.

my answer to this question is #september8

i need to be up front about this. i have not watched game of thrones. it is my #september8 plan, three seasons one after another. all i know about it is that something really, really bad happens at the wedding.

Frankenleigen19 karma

Hey Scott,

I'm a big fan of your committee work and really appreciate the footage being uploaded to youtube.

You ask some probing and sometimes cheeky questions - but as a Senator are you entitled to see confidential information or get private briefings which can't be published to followers?

Have you ever had any significant questions answered to your satisfaction, but been unable to pass the info on?


scott_ludlam22 karma

yes, I have. we do get access to private briefings sometimes, if open hearings drift into areas of national security or suchlike. in the early days I got a briefing on Australian submarine capability, and i had the opportunity to visit the Pine Gap spybase outside Alice Springs with a committee. found both occasions frustrating.

it sucks not being able to then use the information. it's not something i will choose to do again apart from exceptional circumstances, because it is of no help to the people i represent to be getting secret squirrel briefings.

teiglin8 karma

Question here: If you received a secret briefing of this sort that revealed something absolutely appalling happening, would you be able to reveal it publicly on the floor under parliamentary privilege? I'd imagine that'd probably put an end to future briefings, but beyond that would there be any real consequences?

scott_ludlam13 karma

it's a bit more complex than that. the information provided to those committees is privileged; disclosing it to the chamber if it has been delivered in camera would itself be a breach.

teiglin4 karma

Thought that might be the case. Was just curious as I've heard this mentioned as a "safe" way to leak in the US, and wasn't sure how similar our laws were.
Anyway, keep up the good fight! Would definitely be voting for you were I in WA (will still likely be voting Green, but it's a bit less automatic here in NSW for reasons you're no doubt entirely aware of).

scott_ludlam9 karma

Cate Faehrmann is awesome I would vote for her if I was in NSW.

tahpot17 karma

If there was one thing you could change about Australia's political system, what would it be?

scott_ludlam50 karma

am i only allowed one?

i'd like proportional representation in the house of reps so that it more accurately reflects the voting will of the population. it would crack the incumbency of the old parties and might even turn the parliament back into a deliberating chamber.

Beast_Man16 karma

Hi Scott,

It seams like politics attracts some really sorry excuses for human beings, it's really refreshing to see someone like you playing the game and playing it well.

What is your view on media reform in Australia , especially with the pro Abbott barrage from Rupert Murdoch?

What can be done to prevent this kind of journalistic abuse, why is no one accountable?

scott_ludlam21 karma

The Greens supported most of the media reform proposals that came forward in March although the process the Government chose to pursue the bills was pretty appalling. We had two very detailed and broad inquiries – the Finkelstein and Convergence Reviews. Most of that work has gone to waste. Australia has one of the most concentrated media ownership structures in the world, as I suspect you know.

The problem is a serious one though. Any law that would stop the daily telegraph from running Tony Abbott's election campaign for him would be a dangerous law.

Our work on the [media reform bills is here]

cl3ft3 karma

How about a law that ensured we have 8 major papers with different owners so if one paper pulls this

the daily telegraph running Tony Abbott's election campaign for him

kind of disgraceful stunt there will be other papers to run a campaign on behalf of the Greens etc.

scott_ludlam19 karma

newspapers are going out the door backwards. by way of replacement, perhaps, the internet.

orru15 karma

What's your take on the spectacular implosion of the Wikileaks Party?

scott_ludlam25 karma

that it was avoidable.

scott_ludlam14 karma

Redditt, you are awesome. I enjoyed this one even more than the first one - thanks for being questioning, opinionated and argumentative. see you at the next one, and seriously, if you have time to help out, throw us a few bucks or give us a few hours on election day, please go here ( and hopefully all the greens crew up for election come out the other side. including me. see you then, with thanks.


lukemelville14 karma

Hi Scott, Just interested to know your thoughts on people downloading content via peer sharing torrent networks. Why should Australians have to wait up to 12 months for content from America to become available? Don't you think a solution to people downloading "illegally" would be to allow International Streaming Rights for services such as NetFlix and Hulu. Thanks, Luke.

scott_ludlam16 karma

YES - see answer above.

tyroneh18 karma

Great Question Luke! Things like spotify are helping to revamp the music industry for the digital age. We definitely need to encourage these types of services

scott_ludlam25 karma

problem with spotify is the artists still only get a tiny fraction of the revenue.

themann8714 karma

Hi Scott, The senate ballot papers are rather ridiculous in size due to influx of minor parties and its making it harder than ever to vote bellow the line. What can we do to make voting in the senate easier for those who want to control their preference flow?

Thanks Jon

scott_ludlam21 karma

While lots of voices are not a bad thing, fact is the far-right are getting very good at creating sock puppet parties that are basically preference-harvesting shell entities.

I would really like to see above the line preferential voting in the Senate - it would do away with most of the preference shenanigans if people could number across the top on the senate paper rather than having to spend half an hour voting below the line.

themann8713 karma

Thanks for the answer scott, I totally agree above the line preferences would certainly help a lot!

I have found the website to be a massive help in getting things sorted before entering the polling booth

You definitely have my vote

scott_ludlam12 karma

yes was a bit remiss in not posting that link - it's a keeper.

shigawire13 karma

Hi Scott. Thanks for helping making me way less cynical about federal politics in the last few years.

I'm pretty disgusted with the ALP, and Liberal party policies on asylum seekers both of which seem to be trying to make this first-dog cartoon a reality. I don't agree that people that have gone through hell already should be punished for seeking asylum here.

At the same time, it's pretty ridiculous that people have to risk their lives to do it. All of the debate seems to start with people getting on a death-trap to try and come here.

Do you have any ideas on how these same people that risk their lives to try and get here (and often die before getting close) can safely apply for asylum to Australia before resorting to risking getting on a dodgy boat, and be treated seriously?

People talk a lot about boats, and naive as it might sound, our government has plenty of fucking aeroplanes, and it will stop hundreds of people a year dying trying to get here to seek asylum.

scott_ludlam26 karma

you're welcome. events like this make me less cynical too.

I can't fit my answer onto a bumper sticker though. Here goes.

The Greens want to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake to 30,000, which has been costed at $2.5 billion over the forward estimates. The government plans to spend $7.5 billion on offshore processing.

Within the 30K, resettle an emergency intake of 10,000 UNHCR assessed refugees to Australia from our region to reduce the backlog and give refugees a ‘regular’ path to a safe life, including resettling at least 3,800 directly from our immediate region, including from Indonesia, as recommended by the Houston Panel.

We believe an additional $70 million per year in emergency funding for safe assessment centres in Indonesia would provide shelter and welfare services to refugees while they wait for assessment and resettlement, and to boost the capacity of the UNHCR in Indonesia and Malaysia to speed up assessment and resettlement.

We want to shut down all offshore detention in Nauru and PNG, with Australia to assess the claims of people who arrive by boat. We also want to ensure that no children are held in detention, either offshore or in Australia.

We also want to establish 30 day time limits on detention so initial health check, security and ID checks can be done, will move refugees to living in the community as soon as possible and give full work rights to refugees and asylum seekers on bridging visas will help people support themselves where possible.

So, that's the core of it. If we do this, people will simply have no reason to take these apallingly risky sea voyages. The irony of the 'smashing the people smugglers business model' trope is that it could be achieved far more effectively with a humanitarian approach than the vile race to the bottom we're seeing now.

tyroneh112 karma

Hi Scott,

Can you speak a little bit about Australia's housing crisis and what needs to be done to help overcome this issue.

scott_ludlam16 karma

ok well I'm glad you asked.

Australia has a housing affordability crisis. The Greens have a number of detailed costed election initiatives to address the housing crisis Almost one in three Australians rent. Pensioners can’t afford private rentals. Workers on minimum wage can’t afford private rentals. The Greens have released a number of fully-costed initiatives to tackle the housing crisis and also the growing crisis of homelessness – up 17% in five years. Housing supply bonds will unlock private investment and boost the supply of social housing. Our rental policy will expand and improve the national rental affordability scheme and introduce a Convert To Rent program, delivering 85,000 new affordable rentals in ten years. We can boost housing supply without increasing urban sprawl through urban planning reform – delivering affordable housing close to jobs, schools, public transport and other services. And today in Bunbury we launched a plan to boost local jobs by using plantation pine for prefabricated housing construction. This is cutting edge technology and a growth industry of the future.

tyroneh14 karma

Thanks Scott! Keep up the Great work!

scott_ludlam13 karma

ok i will.

SavannaJeff3 karma

Hi Scott, I know this is more a municipal issue,but what about fed government incentives for promoting more high density residential? Living in a number of European cities over the last few years, I fail to understand why Australians need to have some of the largest average property sizes in the world. Encouraging high density residential would help with both housing affordability and make planning public transport corridors much easier.

scott_ludlam7 karma

awesome question.

our answer, (again, apols for WA content but you get the idea) is called Transforming Perth ( there are some recommendations at the back for state/federal governments.

Silent_Notes12 karma

I really admire your/the Greens stance on issues like privacy and refugees, but those issues aren't really a deal breaker for me, it's economic issues that swing my vote. I just don't feel like the Greens have tested credentials on this- why should I trust the Greens on economic issues?

scott_ludlam28 karma

fair enough.

Here is some work we've done on economic issues – (

You might like to check out the open economy project, which is a first cut at a unified financial infographic; needs more work but have a poke around and see what you think - (

Thing is, the Greens have the only fully costed election platform in this election. Not one cent has been spent that hasn't been found, saved or sourced - it an entirely costed platform - over 80 of our proposals are on the PBO website, while the Coalition dicks around with releasing things at midnight this Thursday.

Silent_Notes9 karma

Shit that open economy thing is cool! Labor and Libs need something like this, respect to you Senator you have my vote

scott_ludlam35 karma

I AM SO GLAD SOMEONE LIKES THAT THING! the code is sitting on github please pass it on and hack the shit out of it.

blue_yellow_man11 karma

I don't have a question. Just want to say thanks for standing up to the luddites for the past 6 years. I hope you get to come back for another six.

scott_ludlam12 karma

well thankyou. I think I am probably a relative of Ned Ludd - i kid you not - ( i think the luddites were probably a bit misunderstood and maligned. they weren't anti-technology as suchm they just didn't like being exploited and thrown out of work. but anyway, thanks :-D

collopyj11 karma

Hi Scott. What do you believe it will take for Australia to reach a 100% renewable energy economy? Do you think that it's possible in the next decade?

scott_ludlam22 karma

so, this: my commissioned research to demonstrate we can have 100% renewable energy on the SWIS grid in WA by 2029, see Energy 2029 Report for the details.

nationally, the best work was done by Beyond Zero Emissions and more recently by AEMO. This latter study was delivered as part of the Clean Energy Act negotiations by Senator Milne.

collopyj14 karma

Thanks Scott. Best of luck for the election, we need more honest and future-minded politicians like you in Canberra!

scott_ludlam13 karma

thanks! we're working on it.

scott_ludlam12 karma


tahpot11 karma

How can modern communication technologies / online tools be used to improve efficiency across the public sector? How can this be done without existing public servants becoming scared of losing their job?

scott_ludlam11 karma

one (slightly glib answer) is the gov2.0 and gov hack work that Kate Lundy has led in Cbra - really nice examples of applying the theory. big fan.

scott_ludlam14 karma

here's another one (am i allowed to post this twice?)

( I think the Government should upload the budget here and crowdsource submissions on how to improve it. Srsly.

rstuart8510 karma

Hi Scott,

I'm wondering what the Greens need to do to break the stigma of being a "minor party" put on them by the mainstream media. Just last week I was watching The Drum on the ABC where the shows participants put the party in the same category as other parties like Wikileaks. AFAIK the Greens are still the only party with a fully costed policy portfolio which in my mind makes it a major player in the election. Why does the stigma still exist?


edit: typos

scott_ludlam17 karma

it's changing slowly. part of the stigma is there because both the incumbent parties and some sections of the media work very hard to maintain it. we're working at it though.

normy1329 karma

Hi Mr. Ludlam. Thanks for doing this AMA. I read the policy PDF on the Greens website and I must say I'm very impressed with what I read.

My question is this; what is the thinking behind the policy to change the legal voting age to 16? Does the party feel that people this young will be mature enough to make such an important decision as selecting our nation's leader?

scott_ludlam19 karma

why not make it optional at least? any 16-17 year old who opts in to vote is likely to be doing so because they have a clue.

Frankenleigen9 karma

Hey again Scott, Are there any gag laws which might be preventing or discouraging the media from commenting on the NSA debacle or privacy infringements in general in Australia?

If not, why do you think this issue is getting so little coverage? Thanks

scott_ludlam27 karma

This is a pretty big one. I wonder whether the question might be one of self-censorship rather than gag laws.

PM Rudd did not answer questions about PRISM in his AMA. This is typical of both the government and opposition who have pretty much conspired to shut down debate in the parliament and media.

I had a very simple motion calling for the Attorney General to tell us what the implications for Australians privacy actually were. You can find my efforts here to find answers on PRISM

They either refuse to comment on another state’s activities or insist that that Australian and US authorities are acting within the law and under strict judicial oversight.

This is utter bullshit.

Leaked audits of the NSA and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reveal that the surveillance has been illegal and that individuals have abused their power and access. The companies initially denied knowledge but were in fact paid to offset their compliance costs. Senior US politicians and officials have perjured themselves while exacting ever increasing punishment to whistleblowers and journalists providing information in the public interest.

I launched an initiative last week to start the roll back of the surveillance state

tahpot9 karma

Murdoch has been waging a war against Kevin Rudd across all his media outlets. What can / will the Greens do to curb his influence in Australian politics.

scott_ludlam41 karma

Stop buying his terrible newspapers.

magic_round8 karma

Hi Senator,

Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm from Freo and I made an account just because I heard about your AMA! So two things:

  1. I use to love riding my bike everywhere, but just over 3 months ago I got knocked off by some arsehole in a car and I've been pretty much terrified of riding since. I've heard you have a bike plan or something, where can I read about it and how will it stop crap like that happening to me again?

  2. also I really like Wikileaks but my mate said that their preferences are dodgey? I want to vote for both of you, but i don't want to damage your chances? Can you explain that whole thing a little bit.


Edit: numbers

scott_ludlam15 karma

I think the bicycle is the most elegant and subversive invention of the industrial age. we wrote BikeVision for that reason. We can fund an entire cycling future with just 3% of the transport budget of WA, principally to separate cyclists from motorised traffic.

We even have an app already developed so people can note blackspots in their area and we can send them to state government to fix them - please use it to tag your least favourite hated spots - it sends a message, your photo and a google map pin to me and the transport minister.

apivorous8 karma

From a privacy perspective, what do you think should be done about ID Scanning in local pubs? Should it be legislated at a federal or state level and what digital rights should each individual expect to be protected?

scott_ludlam14 karma

i haven't given this a lot of thought, but one idea would be zero data retention. if they insist on doing it, scan and then forget. this is one clear cut case where the venue has no need to retain the information.

PossAbilities8 karma

Hi Scott,

You're easily the best member of parliament, and you should totally be leader of the Greens. Its your actions in parliament which have gotten me talking to a lot of people about the Greens this time around. From speaking with people from across Australia, the two biggest concerns I've heard are:

Many long term Greens voters are talking about not voting at all this election. They say the lower house is broken by design and its impossible to ever form government given the current electoral system. Balance of power in the senate is important, but how do the Greens plan to ever win in the house? More broadly, do you have anything to say to the %10 of Australians who don't vote at all?

A huge number of people of all political stripes are also criticising the Greens for supporting the UN agenda 21 and the UN in general. There are many people claiming that the agreement will result in the environment being placed above humans, and the UN placed before Australia. In particular there is concern about the idea of education being unsustainable and cities becoming even more crowded.

Thanks for doing this, Poss

scott_ludlam9 karma

hey thanks for your comments.

tbh the whole agenda 21 thing really puzzles me. it is about local governments and recycling and bike lanes and renewable energy. it was the outcome document from the 1992 conference about taking our environment back from corporations. how it's been warped into some kind of global conspiracy thing just makes me sad. please have a quick look here (

larkis8 karma

Hi Scott, WA voter hoping you get back into the Senate. For the first time in my life I have decided to vote Greens as I believe they have Australia's best interests at heart out of all the bigger parties and the one that is dedicated to leaving a lasting legacy to future generations. However what I am most concerned with this election is the Liberal party's Fraudbrand. What is your view on the the Liberal party's broadband plans and realistically will they be implemented or will we have to wait another decade to catch up to the world?

scott_ludlam13 karma

what really makes me angry is Mr Turnbull is positioning it as though #fraudband is just like the NBN only cheaper. they won't front up to the fact that imposing a 25MB copper choke on the vast majority of people is entirely inferior to the FTTP build that is under way.

please do not vote for these people.

scott_ludlam13 karma

hey ps thanks for switching your vote. that's kind of a big deal, so we will try to do it justice :-)

j03l5k17 karma

Hi Scott, what do you think about direct e-democracy in the 21st century and the SOL movement in Australia?

scott_ludlam13 karma

promising. we need new tools because some of the old ones have been pretty badly paralysed. very interested to see where these things go in years to come, and have a few ideas of my own.

redartifice7 karma

Hello Senator

You have sat on the foreign affairs, defence and trade committee in the senate, and are probably familiar with the so-called shipbuilding "Valley of Death." How do you propose to combat this impending workforce issue?

scott_ludlam14 karma

it's a really good question.

part of is based on having a small shipbuilding industry that has been tasked to build small numbers of large vessels.

so do we abandon the industry or force it to make stuff just to keep the skills base together?

i think we need to review the kind of naval vessels we're going to need in the century of climate change. less on the air warfare destroyers and long-range submarines, and more on the helicopter loading docks and smaller amphibious vessels. hope this doesn't sound glib but naval assets are fiercely expensive and i honestly think we're building the wrong kind of kit for the kind of security environment we're in.

Toma-6 karma

Hi Mr Ludlam!

As the Greens have a very anti-nuclear policy, would they be open for consideration of future nuclear technologies like thorium reactors and (hopefully one day) fusion reactors?

Also, can you play the ukulele?

Cheers and good luck Saturday!

scott_ludlam8 karma

probably not, and no, but thanks for your good wishes all the same.

i am open to fusion power as long as the power station is eight light minutes away.

thorium still feels like an expensive and polluting distraction, but i know that's probably needlessly provocative. thorium only looks good (on paper) when you sit it next to an old fashioned occasionally exploding light water uranium fission plant. seriously, can you have a quick browse of this ( and tell me we need thorium?

scott_ludlam9 karma

ok a dear friend bought me a ukulele a few years ago and i was just dismally terrible at it even though listening to one played well nearly always makes me happy.

teheditor6 karma

Why do you think Malcolm Turnbull avoids doing an AMA?

scott_ludlam29 karma

because people would ask him anything.

shauncowe6 karma

Why didn't you rap on Friday?

scott_ludlam9 karma

because i know a few things that i am crap at and and rapping is one of them.

necius6 karma

Hi Scott,

The Greens' policies on animals are a step (albeit a small one) in the right direction. However, apart from live exports and native species, these issues are rarely discussed by candidates. What would it take to put these issues more prominently on the agenda? What plans do the Greens have to reduce the exploitation of, and untold suffering inflicted upon, animals by people in Australia?


scott_ludlam16 karma

unfortunately what it often takes are actions that put the issues in peoples faces. without crew going under cover into abbatoirs, or exposing the reality of animal experimentation, these things fade into the background. These things lie rather uneasily in the collective subconscious where we know industrial-scale horror is being perpetrated but it's become so normalised that it needs the occasional shock to remind us what is going on.

Here is some information about our costed election initiative on animal exports - it is an important place to start because it has hit the headlines over and over again.

one caution though - spend a bit of time with farmers and you'll know we can't simply turn the lights out on the industry overnight. this has to be a transition, and it's not something farming communities can cop without a fair bit of assistance.

orru5 karma

Roy Morgan had the Greens at 13.5% in WA today. How confident are you of staying in the Senate? Also, what do you think is going to happen on Saturday in general?

scott_ludlam11 karma

the 13.5 thing is probably an outlier. much as i would be happy if it were true, the polls are volatile and small sample sizes.

aldonius3 karma

That's almost a quota. Should get in. (Sex, Dems, possible leftover ALP prefs combine to push over the line.)

scott_ludlam11 karma

no really. last week i was apparently on 9.5% and losing the house. WA polls have tiny sample sizes and should be treated with extreme caution.

yakchef5 karma

Hey Scott, on the off chance you aren't re-elected do you see your self continuing to work for the Greens or will you change careers and if so too what?

scott_ludlam12 karma

i have no idea. no plan b. ask me in five days :-)

HydroRage5 karma


scott_ludlam7 karma

here are all our candidates:


they are awesome.

we haven't done much letterboxing this campaign because it's expensive and I'm not sure it works that well.

our regional resilience work (with a WA flavour) is here: (

Frankenleigen6 karma

Hey HydroRage I can't answer for Scott but I know that sending material in the mail can get very expensive very fast. The Greens have limited resources and tend to be incredibly frugal with the use of campaign funds.

My local Greens group sent out info about both the Greens Candidate and details of various rural policies to country towns in my electorate - and it was a big expense.

Probably the best way to ensure that the Greens message gets into the community is to lend a hand: or strengthen your local branch and have your say by joining the party This one works.

scott_ludlam14 karma

ok your answer was better than my answer.

scott_ludlam5 karma

hmm. i will report that broken link tho. ta.

archetypalone4 karma

Hi Scott,

WA (and in particular, The Kimberley) is home to some of the most disadvantaged Local Government Areas in Australia.

What are your policies on remote Aboriginal communities?

FWIW, Abbott is on record as saying that "land should be treated as an economic asset as well as a spiritual asset," wants to remove the permit entry system, and has flagged an intent to "reduce" the levels of governance and autonomy in remote communities - perhaps a thinly veiled aspiration to allow mining on Native Title land more easily in future.

How do you hope to prevent the enormous pressure placed on remote Aboriginal communities to sign mining deals (like JPP) to help pay for basic services and infrastructure that the rest of Australia enjoy without question?

scott_ludlam10 karma

hoi - sorry missed this on the first pass.

a big problem is the native title act is just a one way dispossession machine - people have no right of veto, no right to say no - they have to negotiate away rights to country and culture even if they have proven to a white court that they have maintained continuous occupation in the face of everything.

our kimberley policy is here: ( - it is founded in respect for Aboriginal prior occupation and continuing aspiration. hope it goes some way toward answering your question.

senator rachel siewert has some ideas on native title reform to fix this, and some of her work on the NT intervention can also be found here. (

realneil4 karma

Scott, what is up with the Greens Communication strategy? Wouldn't it be better to stick with one spokesperson and one consistent message at a time?

scott_ludlam16 karma

Nope. I have a bunch of excellent colleagues and I think it's good that we all get to represent our portfolios.

HansieC4 karma

What in God's name happened with preferences? Besides optional above the life voting, how can we ensure that voters have a good idea who they are electing, and to make the whole thing more transparent? Or does the whole thing need a total overhaul?

scott_ludlam9 karma

above the line senate voting i reckon - sweep away the whole preference swap thing.

auspolsadface3 karma

Hi Scott, thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions. From your comments around the media and your last AMA you seem like a real breath of fresh air in Australian politics. I was wondering if you have ever thought of running as an independent or do you believe you need the backing of a bigger party to gain sufficient exposure? (especially here in LNP heartland, Western Australia)

As a side question, why do the Greens preference the Labor party in the lower house, is it a case of the lesser of two evils?

scott_ludlam18 karma

i respect independents for what they do, but I really, really, really like the greens.

scott_ludlam15 karma

sorry missed part 2 - we tend to stand a better chance of getting progressive things done under a labor government.

Ben_Deroveur3 karma

What type of potatoes do you like?

scott_ludlam9 karma

chopped up into chip-shaped objects and covered in salt.

NeilNeilOrangePeel3 karma

G'Day Scott,

It seems the Libs have been playing a "low-profile" election campaign.. avoiding questions and scrutiny, not submitting their policies for costings etc. I would have thought it should be obvious to most that they have some fairly nasty surprises in wait for the Australian people if they win this weekend.

So, in your opinion:

*1*. Have the media failed to hold our policians to account in this election? What should they be doing differently to counter this "avoid everything" tactic?


*2*. If you were to speculate, what do suspect will be the #1 "nasty surprise" Abbott & co have in mind for us?

scott_ludlam10 karma

here's what i reckon about that: (

1 yes. I would prefer they concentrate on policy that actually matters to people rather than calling it as though it's a horse race. stop reporting polls and political minutae, and hold people to account for what they're actually proposing.

2 they're going to try to crash the renewable energy sector.

John32853 karma

Scott, in 2003 Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle heckled George Bush when he addressed the Australian Parliament. Would you ever do this and if so, who to. (Side note, someone suggested to me that you and Lee Rhiannon would probably talk all the other Greens into it)

scott_ludlam12 karma

probably i would heckle lord monckton because he is not even a lord.

Two_Kebabs2 karma

What do you think an Abbott lead government will be planning behind the scenes, that will really shock uninformed voters?

scott_ludlam8 karma

this: (

tl;dr - they are going to run the place like it was a mining company

BobRingard1 karma

Hey Scott,

What is your opions on Abbots Internet plan and do you think it's will benfit Australian families? Also what do you think about same sex marriage?


scott_ludlam12 karma

twitter very quickly decided the abbott internet plan should be called #fraudband. i agree.

same sex marriage should be available to those who want one, and those who don't want others to have one should kind of mind their own business.