That's a rare thing these days, right? But I haven't felt like this about Australian politics since... I got here.
One of the joys of moving to Australia prior to the UK going to the polls in 2010 was our escape from the likes of Cameron and the Posh Boys Club. Since the 2013 election here last September, however, I have become increasingly debilitated by the vacuousness of current affairs. In Abbott's world – driven by predator capitalists and climate change confusists – it is more and more of a struggle to engage in meaningful political debate or, lately, even turn the computer on of a morning to read, blog or tweet.
Yesterday, a 7-minute video completely re-invigorated me: gave me back my hope, heart, enthusiasm, belief, determination and inspiration.
Late on Monday evening, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam rose in an empty Senate chamber in Canberra to invite Tony Abbott to Western Australia in the run-up to state's re-election next month. This was Ludlam's last speech in the Senate before 5 April, when Western Australian voters return to the polling stations to re-elect six senators, following the loss of more than 1300 votes during a recount last September.
As I publish this post, 378,364 people have watched the video of the speech, in which Senator Ludlam first dismisses a few Western Australian stereotypes, before systematically rejecting everything that Tony Abbott stands for and all measures that his government has moved to implement. At first you have to almost strain to hear the Senator speak, but gradually you become accustomed to his measured yet incisive tone. You begin to appreciate his disappointment and disgust, and the anger simmering beneath that cool and collected delivery. Conviction flows out of his every pore. Substance triumphs over soundbite. How refreshing.
Listen to it here: http://youtu.be/dtqrfiEV8Gsttp://youtu.be/dtqrfiEV8Gs
The phenomenal response to Senator Ludlam's speech reassures me that there are millions of Australians out west – and back east – who did not give Tony Abbott a mandate to repeal a nascent emissions policy; let mining companies loose wherever they choose to dig; deny that the droughts are biting deeper and the heatwaves lasting longer; banish scientists from government; cut foreign aid to the neediest nations; secretly stop boats and brutalize their occupants; alienate Asia-Pacific neighbours; threaten the ABC; downgrade the national broadband network; sign this country up to the iniquitous TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement); and so on.
The people can put a stop to this madness. But they have to take a leaf out of Senator Ludlam's book. No more just getting on with it, if that means keeping quiet. Raise your head above the parapet.
Scott Ludlam has reignited a spark and for that I thank him. Let's hope we can look back and conclude that this week was the start of a force for change.