Hoi folks. Many months since the last AMA and I've missed it. Juggling a lot of digital rights campaigns at the moment and would be good to talk about data retention and related things, but actually... ask me anything.


hey youse all.

this is the fourth one of these i've done and as always, this community comes through with the most thoughtful, insightful and occasionally snarky questions and contributions - thanks for taking the time. my only regret is how many i missed - will check in over the next few days and answer a few more questions if you can bear with.

thanks again, dear reddit.

Comments: 1495 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

Fanavans493 karma


scott_ludlam388 karma

kinda great that this was the post that got voted right to the top :)

it doesn't feel like we've seen the killer app yet. i'm not sure there will be a single one, but here's some ideas. we've already found that digital tools are helping us do seriously old-school things like large-scale doorknocking and phonebanking. the stuff that seems to be working best is around enabling conversations - peer-to-peer politics rather than broadcast. i'm intrigued by what happens when we really start seeing town-hall style stuff adapted online - as yet, my AMA catchment is too small to be heard over the noise, but maybe it's not so far away that we start seeing genuine distributed democracy making an impact on mainstream debates.

ps. thanks for the copy of 1984 - such a sweet idea. i have put it on my bookshelf next to my other copy and am waiting for the right person to give it to ;)

Ailias41 karma

This! There are so many old processes that are just ridiculously stupid. How much money would the government save for instance if people could attend by VC instead of flying across the country!

scott_ludlam97 karma

yes working on that - moves within Parle to get serious about video conf are at last getting traction.

Jovankat435 karma

Did you expect the backlash at your choice of comic sans in your announcement of this AMA?

scott_ludlam1248 karma

i wanted to see how mad it would make people. was hoping for a backlash and was not disappointed.

Moggeth229 karma

Huge fan mate, you convinced my sister Billee to vote after she was on Triple J! I'm gonna ask one of the world's biggest current questions if that's cool.

With the increasing ubiquity of workforce automation & machine intelligence and especially the notion that machines will very likely be smarter than people in most ways by around 2030 (one set of teenagers away), how do you think we can bring sufficient change to both the Australian and global political and economic system(s) over the next 10-20 years to adequately address mass unemployment as our exponential increase in near-humanless sustainable productivity means the world's jobs are either automated away from existing workers or are designed without human involvement in mind from the very start, while productivity increases?

I think it's going to be nonsensical to force people into work to "give back what we owe" to a system largely operated by robotic labour when we could use our very limited time on Earth for far more fulfilling things. Massive thanks in advance :]

scott_ludlam267 karma

what a profoundly good set of questions.

i honestly feel like it's going to be insulting if i try and answer this on the fly. can you give me a little while to work on this one?

senatorkang226 karma

Senator Ludlam, ELI5: How can Attorney-General George Brandis just... not answer a question? Let alone a few questions. I don't mean like "Oh he just doesn't move his mouth". I mean... How is it that even a thing? I lack the proper language to explain how much my mind is boggling...

Love, Senator Kang

scott_ludlam433 karma

it is a bit boggling. when this place works, it works well, and it's vastly better than many of the alternatives on offer. but brandis is in a bit of a separate category even to his colleagues, because he believes himself to be so vastly more intelligent and learned than the mere humans he finds himself surrounded with. we should just make him watch his metadata interview again.

and again.

i certainly have, and it cheers me up every time.

mansonitefirefox206 karma

Good afternoon Senator Ludlam,

What do you do after a long hard day of beating your head against the brick wall that is our conservative government to unwind and relax?

scott_ludlam184 karma

unwinding time is a precious and rare commodity - if it's a sitting day, it's likely no more than brief sci-fi and perhaps a brief dram from dave's unusually top-shelf whisky selection. on non-sitting days if i'm at home i try to get to the ocean and away from tiny distracting screens as much as possible.

i am still a bit of a graphic design nerd... i am teaching myself modo 801 and trying to get a bit of design time in when i can.

Swaghetti_Yolognase204 karma

During the last election campaign, you knocked on my door and it was amazing!

At the time I asked if you if you watch parks and rec, for obvious reasons, and you had no idea what is was!

So, have you watched parks and rec yet? If so, what are your thoughts on your doppleganger association with Adam Scott? I personally think your hair is far superior ;)

edit: Proof! http://i.imgur.com/GmmChQa.jpg

scott_ludlam232 karma

i remember :) i have not yet watched parks and rec - i have to stack that up with all the other things i have not yet watched.

but also it has just been pointed out that you look a lot like a young matt damon - what are your thoughts on your doppleganger association with Matt Damon? I personally think your hair is far superior ;)

94193910130 karma


Will you accept the mod request in /r/circlejerkaustralia?

You'd make many people happy!

scott_ludlam325 karma

i will accept this generous mod request if you can guarantee that it's a bigger circlejerk than what routinely happens in the senate when the the libs and alp line up together to vandalise the country....

mundoid124 karma

HI Scott, I'm a Green voter from North Queensland. Do you think theres any chance of getting Abbott out before his term is up?

scott_ludlam252 karma

well, maybe. i think murdoch is starting to turn on him - look at the series of editorials and hit-pieces in the Oz and allied papers over the last few days.

thing is, it's not just about abbott. he's a particularly terrible advocate for their cause, but there are plenty coming up behind him. main thing is to make sure we build the counter-movement as strongly as possible while we still have such an unambiguously aggressive opponent...

mundoid33 karma

There must be a way. We've seen 1 or is it 2 double dissolution triggers now, we have the unanswered question of his eligibility due to his lack of evidence that he isn't a dual citizen. There's the plethora of broken promises, plus the fact that he is dragging our country through the mud in the eyes of the international community. Surely something can be done. What can we do Mr. Ludlam??

scott_ludlam252 karma

don't count on a double dissolution: it would a require a prime minister with courage, and we don't have one.

where i've got to is that there's really no shortcut. whoever is prime minister in 2016, whether it's abbott or some less overtly offensive stand-in, it is the ideas that need to be challenged and discarded. we have to work on the fact that it is still electorally possible to win votes in climate denial, aboriginal disposession, institutional child abuse (as long as the children are from war zones or military dictatorships) and out-and-out class warfare. if we can seriously attack the ideas and render them less electorally appealing, then there's hope.

gouom81 karma

Hi Senator Ludlum, I have only one question - Where to from here?

To clarify, our government is a bit of a joke, the rest of the world hates us, cost of living is too high, the climate (in the most delicate of countries) is being ignored and people are unhappy. How do we fix this, what is your plan?

scott_ludlam82 karma

the 'plan' if you can call it that, is still in draft. it is here, and i know it's a work in progress.

this might sound a bit predictable, but i got a lot of hope from reading naomi klein's 'this changes everything'. it reads almost, but not quite, like a manifesto for changing course.

EdwardFordTheSecond74 karma

Hi Scott,

Who are the top 5 people (living, or dead) who have had the most impact on your political thought?

Are you religious?

Favourite biscuit?

scott_ludlam185 karma

  1. William Gibson
  2. Jo Vallentine
  3. Lao Tsu
  4. David Paris
  5. TimTams - when we have them i believe in god. And when we don't, we vote against whatever is being debated.

j-man199254 karma

What can you actually do if politicians like Brandis don't answer questions in parliament?

How do you manage to stay so calm and collected in all your speeches, interviews etc.?

If you were running the country can you give us some examples of what you would change and how you would go about it?

Some non-political questions:

Favourite Band at the moment?

Last book you read?

What TV universe would you want to live in? Why?

I am a big fan of yours Senator it's a shame I can't vote for you but I will definitely be voting Green/Independent next election season.

Also might want to put your name in the title, it's not only Aussies that will see this, and even then most still won't know who this is.

scott_ludlam173 karma

What can you actually do if politicians like Brandis don't answer questions in parliament?

  • put youtube clips up so that people can mock him, like this:

staying calm? I don't always, but it's best to not let them get to you.

favourite band? i'm still adoring 'paper kites', gorgeous lil melbourne outfit

what tv universe? firefly. the one, and only firefly. because it's perfect.

last book i read? getting through 'this changes everything' by naomi klein. it is brilliant, terrifying and unifying. please read it.

orru45 karma

Hi Scott. The campaign to get you reelected was amazing and the Greens vote in WA is still massive. Have you seen a similar mood in Vic? What do you think are the Greens' chances on Saturday?

scott_ludlam54 karma

i have spent a bit of time there in the last two months and can honestly say the same mood is afoot. the victorian crew have run a well-organised, spirited campaign and i'm really optimistic for a good result on saturday. feels like the tide is on the turn at last :)

mumbrellatim44 karma

Hi Scott, We don't seem to be seeing much action going on in reforming Australia's media ownership laws. Do they need to be changed, and if so how would you get it moving?

scott_ludlam76 karma

in the short term the government can't move on media reform without upsetting one of the majors. i think they'd like to abolish the two-out-of-three rule and set off a wave of mergers, but right now there's obviously not agreement amongst the oligarchs or it would have already happened.

___square24 karma

Senator Ludlam, I was just wondering what you mean when you say media reform?

scott_ludlam49 karma

fair question - was thinking mainly about the kind of things that were in play early last year - convergence stuff, cross-media ownership, reach rule, local content stuff

Shrub7440 karma

Mr. Ludlam, I'm a fan of yours. I have two questions:

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing Australia today, and what do you believe are the best solutions?

What do you think are the best ways for a third party to gain a significant amount of influence in government among the Liberal-Labor majorities we have?

scott_ludlam108 karma

Sorry to be predictable but I think climate change is the most pressing issue facing Australia, mainly because we're so late to the party and we're temporarily stuck with an executive that's proudly a wholly-owned subsidiary of the coal and gas industry. as for solutions - my best shot on the energy side is here, on planning policy is here and on the reasons for urgency is here.

FvHound20 karma

Hi Scott, Quick question. How many questions are there here that you wish you could answer directly and openly, but can't due to "backlash" or unintended responses that might be misconstrued in some way?

scott_ludlam28 karma

yes of course. guess which ones :)