Hoii again redditors.

I made a n00b's mistake and got the thread rolling too early, and so @reddit_AMA blew us up on the launchpad. mea culpa and apologies to everyone who was already playing.


It's been quite the fortnight.

Last week I got to question the Attorney General and ASIO about data retention and mass surveillance; on Friday an election got called, and on Monday i welcomed the prime minister to visit WA as many times as he can manage.

There are a lot of issues in play in this April 5 by-election, but I really want to make sure that digital rights gets the prominence it deserves. So by all means Ask Me Anything, but I also want to ask you: what do you think the priorities should be for protecting privacy and maximising transparency; in the immediate term, and over the coming years. I have some ideas - expressed in this speech - but I am keen to hear yours.

I'm also shamelessly needing your help, whether you live in WA or not. Please ask me about that too ;-)

*Ok AMA: 6pm WA; 9pm AEDT March 5 *

Proof of life

OK folks. I have clocked off for the evening. As always, profoundly impressed with this community, even the disagreements are useful.

If you're in WA hope to see you on the campaign trail. If you're not in WA I bet you know someone who is. Or swing us a few bucks

Gnight, internet.

Comments: 1192 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

SlayBelle509 karma

I just want to say what you said in your speech was brilliant, keep saying what needs to be said, more people will come to see how true your words are.

scott_ludlam258 karma

lovely. thanks.

samthor194 karma

(copy/paste from previous thread)

So, I quite honestly believe that the Greens are Australia's serious third party: but I'm concerned that for a broad part of Australia's population, you'll always be the parties of "hippies who want to stop progress etc". Looking at the tweets and FB comments on the Greens' pages is often particularly depressing.

What can you - or we, or Greens' members (of which I am one, please enjoy my donation kthx) - actually do to overcome this preconception? I believe in economic growth and prosperity and all that good stuff as much as everybody else, I just think we should go about it in a different way (innovation/investment in information technology, green energy, etc etc).

scott_ludlam234 karma

The most trusted source of information is friend or family member. Journalists (and politicians) consistently rate at or near the bottom of such surveys. So as trite as it can sometimes sound - the best thing is talking to people. Answering their questions. People are more likely to support the Greens if someone they know does. So if everyone keeps having those conversations, we'll keep clawing our way forward.

FullDiscloshe147 karma

Hi Scott, the Greens purport to be pro-science, yet IMO there are some scary anti-evidence opinions within your party and policies - specifically regarding GMO and nuclear power. Like many, I'm leaning Green this election because of the current Government's dangerous environmental policies. I am, however, very wary of extreme environmentalists who don't accept scientific evidence. Can you allay our fears that you're not going to act on evidence to create good policy, and rather promote fear-based anti-evidence claims that mistakenly help hippies to think they're doing something good for the world? Thanks for the AMA, and thanks for standing up for our environment :) (EDIT: grammar)

scott_ludlam126 karma

I'd want to take Nukes and GM as separate issues and not conflate the two just because 'science'.

But considering what they have in common. The science that split the atom and read the genome is exquisite; important research. Should society then just accept the applications to which this research is put just because the scientific endeavour made these applications possible?

I strongly argue: no. The science that disentangled DNA and allow people to interpret these tiny scripts is well established and very powerful.

The science behind whether or not genetically engineered organsims or byproducts are safe for people or dispersal into the wider environment is so corrupted it no longer deserves the name: the corporations who are trying to monetise these products are conducting a vast and irreversable experiment that I strongly oppose.

Similarly with nukes. Nuclear science: amazing. Nuclear weapons, depleted uranium weapons, tailings dumps poisoning the villages around Jadugoda, the Muckaty waste dump; Fukushima. Opposition to these things is deeply rational if you happen to be in harm's way.

Sorry for the long rant but I get that the question is intended respectfully so I've tried to respond in kind.

scott_ludlam138 karma

Hai reddit - sorry again to stuff around all the people who were piling up questions at the old thread.

MarzEz74 karma

It's cool, most of us know copy-and-paste.

koproller66 karma

We are experts in it.

shaneus75 karma

It's true, We are experts in it.

megustaajo53 karma

It's true, We are experts in it.

KremlinKOA48 karma

It's true, We are experts in it.

scott_ludlam381 karma

It's true, We are experts in it.

scott_ludlam275 karma


scott_ludlam279 karma


scott_ludlam255 karma

ok this has to stop. good night y'all

TheJword135 karma

Would you rather fight 1 Clive Palmer sized duck of 100 duck sized Clive Palmers?

scott_ludlam391 karma

The duck. Whether it's the Reef Authority or the AEC Palmer doesn't seem to like the call of the umpire. Can you imagine having to wait for the outcome of 100 appeals after defeating 100 Palmers?

Lucas101101110106 karma

Knowing there are far more politically savvy people than myself, the only question I have is, how does it feel having a twitter account just for your hair?

p.s It is magnificent.

scott_ludlam141 karma

I think it's a little weird. Sometimes amusing. Colleagues and staff think it's hilarious.

Nanglez93 karma

Greeting Scott Ludlam.

I just wanted to convey my admiration and respect for your speech given in the Senate today. I've not been the Greens biggest fan over the years, but I shall make more efforts to listen to what you have to say from now on.

Edit: For the sake of adding a question you may or may not answer - Do you believe if Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister, or became Prime Minister by way of leadership spill, would he reverse his policy on the NBN, given that it would be a massive vote winner?

scott_ludlam121 karma

not sure what they'd do with the NBN. They're dug in pretty deep.

The tragedy is, Turnbull had the business experience and political capital to hose out the subcontracting debacle that was causing the delays, which could have got the project on track. Instead they've chosen to cack the thing. Such a shame.

scott_ludlam30 karma

well thankyou. much appreciated.

drrimmer90 karma

Should Australia have a defence of fair use under copyright law?

scott_ludlam190 karma

Absolutely Australia should adopt a US style fair use model, though that's certainly not the only flaw in Australia's copyright legislation, the laws are horribly outdated.

We proposed a bill that incorporated a Fair Use model, and also addressed the obscene prices Australians pay for content and software, remove discrimination for the visually impaired, and protect Australia's libraries and educational institutions.

There's a lot of work that needs doing there - see my speech on the bill here

teheditor71 karma

What do you think of the media's NBN coverage?

scott_ludlam205 karma

The tech press cover it very well. Murdoch press not so much, sometimes comically so. The NBN is one of the great infrastructure tragedies of our age. Wish the MSM covered that.

nasrmg70 karma

Scott as far as I understand, one of the greatest problems facing the western democracies at the moment is massive wealth inequality. What do you think is the solution to this?

Also I've always wondered what it's like to go on Q and A. It looks nerve-racking!

scott_ludlam148 karma

very important. In Australia, asset inequality is between 50 and 400 times worse than income inequality, depending on how it is calculated. The most wealthy are literally getting richer off the backs of the least wealthy-the renters-and the taxpayers who provide the subsidies. Treasury estimated the capital gains tax discount on investment properties will be worth $5.2 billion in 2013-14. These concessions are being paid for by low- and middle-income taxpayers.

One of the solutions is to name it and not pretend it isn't happening. Listen for the screams of 'class warfare', which means we're getting warm...

usersame30 karma

Is there a source I can quote for that first statistic? (Other than yourself)

scott_ludlam187 karma

The source is a book by Frank Stilwell and Kirrily Jordan entitled Who Gets What (2007), you will find summaries of income inequality (eg on p32) and asset inequality (eg on p48) between the top and bottom quintiles. The income inequality ratio is betwen 4 and 5 times, while the asset inequality ratio is shown by different sources as being about 40, 50 and 280 times. This is the basis for my statement about the asset inequality being at least ten times worse (of course, there are other ways of measuring inequality than comparing the top and bottom quintiles). The data relied upon are from the mid-2000s or a little earlier but there is no reason to think the differences would have reduced since then. Actually it would have widened vastly.

electricdandan69 karma

Hi Scott,

I think when it comes to digital rights, a few things stand out to me as needing emphasis:

  1. Ceasing the mass surveillance on Australian citizens without warrant
  2. Transparency in what information our government and allies have collected/are collecting about us
  3. Fending off Internet censorship
  4. Ensuring net neutrality
  5. Addressing the Trans-Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions

Since the web is still so young, I think a lot of Australians dismiss it as being a lesser media in the eyes of the law, where I think we need our rights in this new landscape just as much as in the physical world.

scott_ludlam42 karma

Good - concise - nice summary.

WitchingHourOwl66 karma

Hey Scott,

Thanks for doing this AMA. A few years ago I wouldn’t even have considered it, but I voted Greens at the last election, largely thanks to your words on this forum and especially your understanding of the digital age.

I’m a bit of an odd sort on reddit—much closer to the centre than the left, especially on economics. To me it seems totally vital that people understand the limits of regulation and large, high taxing government. We need the efficiency and growth that come with free markets, and we need to ease the constraints high taxes and complicated approvals place on our startup companies, if we are going to be able to ever have the competitiveness, wealth and efficiency to focus on truly sustainable management of our society and our environment.

People often describe the Greens as “Watermelons”—Green on the outside, red in the centre. How true is this? Is there a place in the Greens for people who view large, unwieldy government with suspicion?

scott_ludlam120 karma

there must be a place, because I view large, unwieldy government with suspicion and i feel very at home in the greens. i've seen up close how appallingly dysfunctional government can be.

We've seen the worst of what can happen when markets are too unregulated; witness the subprime crisis in the US and the global financial mayhem that followed. Regulations precluding that sort of behaviour played an important role in preventing Australia from going down the same path. Much of Australia's tax concessions and handouts are skewed towards established businesses and wealthier individuals. Addressing inequality won't happen if we give those with the most free reign to grab more. We won't grow and flourish if we fail to embrace new technologies and opportunities. The most profitable businesses, particularly those profiting from resources that belong to us all and can only be sold once, should pay more. Norway's sovereign wealth fund, using revenue from oil resources, has grown to a point where it has a million dollars for every citizen. Fledgling businesses in new areas should be given every chance to succeed.

For the best example of how we tried to strike the balance, take the NBN - wholesale network (natural monopoly) in public hands with parliamentary oversight and the shortest possible leash. at the retail level, let the market rip - albeit constrained by trade practices and competition regs running to thousands of pages to prevent abusive monopolies or other market failures to occur.

mumooshka65 karma

so I have to ask again... deja vu!!

1- are you worried that the same voting 'fiasco' will occur this re-election?

2- is there any indications (obvious ones) that people are getting fed up with the current two horrible L's and are turning to Greens? Have you seen a huge influx of supporters since Abbot slithered in to power?

scott_ludlam120 karma

1 - yes i'm worried but lightning never strikes twice in the same spot...right?

2 - yes. i've never seen a groundswell like what we're seeing at the moment. i wish i had polling to back it up (i don't) but our volunteer effort so far is through the roof. bodes well.

littlespoon57 karma

Hi Senator Ludlam,

Firstly, I wanted to say that you should be the leader of our country. You are the leader that we need right now and I feel that you are more in-step with our generations, not the fat cats and mining billionaires. Please be our PM! :D

My question is around First Home Buyer Housing Affordability.

We live in a country where First Home Buyers are priced completely out of the market, you seem to understand this. In my state (QLD) FHB's accounted for 6.9% of the mortgage demand over the last year.(Source)http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/03/afg-first-home-buyers-collapse/ Even the REIA has came out saying that Housing is not affordable for First Home Buyers. (Source) http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/03/reia-housing-is-not-affordable-for-fhbs/

My partner and I are one of the many couples priced out and have given up on ever owning a home.

On the Greens Website, the policies towards housing affordability are listed. There is a lot there about boosting social housing and improving renters rights as well as helping the homeless - great! But majority of these points are just stop-gaps to help people already stuck in the rent trap and who will never get out of it, feel more happy with the status quo. They still don't give people the sense of security of having their own home. The only policy listed to address housing affordability for first home buyers is kickstarting an Australian-made prefab housing industry to help with supply. While I appreciate that this is a cheap, quick housing solution most people like me who are stuck in terms of buying a house, don't want to settle for some shabby pre-fab home out in the backwaters, close to no amenities, no schools and no infrastructure. I don't think this properly addresses the issue. What are your views on this?

I think we need some re-evaluation of house and land prices in this country. Abolishment of Negative Gearing and stronger FIRB regulations that are actually enforced.

Can you please tell me your views on what needs to be done to fix this problem? Why don't the big 2 parties make this more of an issue?

Thanks for reading this and thank you x1000 if you answer.

Not sure why I am getting downvoted :(

edit: I english good.

scott_ludlam48 karma

I’m proud the Greens were the only party to take an affordable housing platform to the election.

The full 9 part platform is here

You’re right to say it’s heavy on social housing and renters – that’s because there's more than 225,000 families on our social housing waiting lists are waiting between 2 – 8 years – and in some places 18 years on average. It’s also because the affordable rental gap is 500,000+ across Australia.

We have a first home owners initiative under development – and it will be coming out soon.

I’m inspired by Community Land Trusts as a model – they let you only ‘own’ the house, not the land. Shared Equity Schemes are another model we’re behind – where the government takes on a third or half of your loan and is an ‘equity partner’ in your house. Means it’s much cheaper to get a foot on the ladder and it’s also targeted to lower incomes.

radditour46 karma

I was late to your last AMA (ages ago, not the one earlier today!) when I posted this:

I would just like to say that you are one of the few Australian politicians that I absolutely respect for their knowledge of their portfolio and their integrity in the way they hold to their convictions.

I would like to ask your thoughts on siding with the Coalition AGAINST the Labor ETS (in 2009), given that arguably has led to the Coalition being in power today (Rudd not going to DD trigger over the ETS, popularity crash, swap for Gillard, ammo given to Coalition, etc). It has clearly boosted the electorate support of the Greens through vote share (in the 2010 election), but are there any regrets over that support based on the damage that the Coalition is trying to do now?

scott_ludlam106 karma

This is a question that people have put to the Greens in all sorts of forums and when it's asked it often ignores the fundamental issue: it was terrible legislation.

Labor took an already flawed proposal across the aisle and let the Liberals not just neuter it but reverse its effectiveness. Labor flat out refused to negotiate with the Greens on it, turning instead to a party of climate change deniers.

If the legislation had have been even an incremental improvement on the status quo the we'd have voted for it, but it was essentially a massive cash handout to encourage polluters to keep polluting, stuffed into an envelope with the letters 'ETS' stuck on the side. It wouldn't have merely been a failure, it would have made failure absolutely certain into the early 2020s.

TheCheesecake34 karma

Hey Scott! You're easily one of the most eloquent pollies that we've had in a long long time, so thank you for that. So as you've asked us to ask, WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

scott_ludlam43 karma

thanks! depends a bit if you're in WA. either way, please hit up this link

or call our WA Greens Office direct on 08 9221 8333 and ask to speak to

Jess - Campaign Manager Tim - Volunteer Recruiter Sean - Phone banking Call Co-ordinator

If you're not in WA, call the on 08 9221 8333 and they’ll direct you to the right place - we're doing phone banking from all over the place.

and anyone, anywhere can make a donation large or small

chriscopywriter28 karma

First of all Scott, please make certain you get reellected and thank-you for your work so far! Well done.

You-know, I've never ever understood why Western Democracies don't release a very very straight forward income and expenditure Government balance sheet for the entire country to view and peruse over, accounting for every single cent. And I'm sure pollies will say they do! BUT... when do we ever see it? Why can't the people choose exactly where our tax $ go? I'd rather be informed of all the ideas, costs and incomes to the very cent than hear aBorrts vague BS about cutting back or whatever. The Australian people ALL do their OWN tax sheets so we can handle our own Govt. balance sheet - anything else looks like a rort!

scott_ludlam55 karma

I agree!

this was my attempt - it needs serious work obvs but what do you think of this approach (move back and forward in time, and double click stuff to see it at work) - the open economy project

ijuzwantfamous26 karma


scott_ludlam34 karma

I've opted for classified briefings once or twice (Pine Gap visit and a navy briefing ages ago) but I don't want to make a habit out of it. I'd much rather work to get things properly disclosed. Had some thoughts about this the other day, here

sekret_identity20 karma

Scotty you're a dead set legend. In Australian politics we seem to have the choice of right wing and now crazy fundamentalist bought out by oligarchs nutter wing. You are bringing accountability. Keep speaking truth to power. Keep asking uncomfortable questions. No one else is a after the press sold out to the 1%.

scott_ludlam16 karma


Devilgal19 karma

Hi Scott!

Can you summarise for me the Green's policies on stimulating the economy, and on asylum seekers?

EDIT: Also, what's your take on our moron of a PM's comments that 'we more than enough national parks, quite enough locked-up forests'?

FYI I think you are brilliant and good luck for the election! I'll be barracking for you.

scott_ludlam32 karma

Contrary to what the MSM say, the Greens have a really strong set of economic policies. You can read our Economics policy here

Its leading principle is that the economy must be equitable, serve the needs of everyone and provide the best chance to meet the challenges of the future.

The Greens federal election platform ‘Standing up for what matters’ outlines the Australian Greens agenda and policies for the nation including a plan to raise an extra $42.7 billion to care for Australians and our unique environment. This package offers WA a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the shift we need for long lasting prosperity, for all. - See more here

Here’s my vision for WA – focusing on R&D, small business,

The Greens also recently released a south east stimulus package - focusing on the jobs rich areas of renewables (including fast tracking the Port Augusta Solar thermal plant) housing, electric vehicles, high speed rail and public transport, and tourism

deathbypapercuts17 karma

Senator Ludlam, Thank you and congratulations on the wonderful speech- the amount of views, shares and likes by Aussies on social media alone hopefully makes up for the lackluster turn out to the red room on the day.

I am a single, female in my mid 20s living in NSW with not much of a disposable income or transport. If I could I would vote for you this April! Even though it's small, I made a megre contribution of $25 via PayPal in support of your campaign here: https://greens.org.au/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=425 are there any other practical ways one can assist in your cause from interstate?

Apart from talking to younger people who are perhaps less familiar to the current affairs in Aussie politics and sharing stuff on social media, I feel rather powerless and insignificant :( I really, really hope the good people of WA keep you on board. It's been a long while since I've felt like my feelings and needs are being heard and addressed by a politician and I can't lose you now!!

edit: wording

scott_ludlam22 karma

you are awesome. that's really appreciated. give the office crew a bell on 08 9221 8333 or sign up here and let the crew know your circumstances. but either way - thankyou.

PossumMagic14 karma

Hi Scott! What are your thoughts on the fraud committed in the latest election by people who voted multiple times?

Do you think it influenced the outcome?

Do you think requiring some form of ID- even if it's a library card- to vote and having an electronic register is a good idea?

Thanks! You're my hero!

scott_ludlam38 karma

I'm vastly more worried about the informal vote - 739,000 people. that's the real problem in my view. not at all convinced we need voter id or any additional barrier to people voting.

craftymethod7 karma

Scott, Australia needs to get serious in regard to distributed common renewable energy, collection and distribution. Help free WA's minds that are locked into elite rare fossil fuel mindsets... peasants!!!

scott_ludlam23 karma

Hoi - have done quite a bit of work on renewable energy - the study here demonstrates the economics of phasing fossil our altogether in WA.

FancyFest7 karma

Ever been to South Australia/Adelaide?

If so, what was your favourite thing about our state?

scott_ludlam10 karma

My favourite thing about SA is uncle Kevin Buzacott

My second favourite thing is the Adelaide Hills. Wish I got to spend a bit more time there but was there last spring and seriously got why people love that part of the world so much.

queernaut5 karma

Hi Scott! I am super interested in politics, and I was wondering if you could share how you got to the position of being elected as a Senator?

scott_ludlam9 karma

long story :-)

tumultuouspotato3 karma

Hi there Scott, As an Australian for Bennelong I really appreciate your voice of honesty in senate.

Whenever I watch you do your statements in Senate, the chamber is almost always completely empty. Why is that? Is there any way we can change that?

What do you feel your relationship with the current ALP is?

scott_ludlam17 karma

the place is frequently empty and I no longer find it as confronting or sad as I used to. The thing is, sitting days vary between 8-15 hours and I gotta say I'm glad I don't have to sit in there and listen to every word. So just cos the place is empty don't assume people aren't working.

and the key thing is: the real audience is outside the building, not inside.

silvialozeva3 karma

Good evening, Scott,

Thank you for the great speech and for being the arrow in the heart of mindless political games! Just one question: do you have time in your busy schedule to play any games, and if so, which one is your favourite?

scott_ludlam5 karma

go :)