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Issue #1632      March 26, 2014

WA Senate re-run election campaign

Since the re-run of the Senate election campaign from last year’s federal election commenced, the campaign has brought out the very best and worst in our political institutions.

The worst was Prime Minister Anthony Abbott’s visit to Western Australia (WA) as the fate of his government’s Senate majority ultimately hangs in the balance on April 5.

Abbott spoke at a number of events for the Liberal Party’s faithful and performed at a photo op on the South Perth foreshore with the Perth skyline in the background as proof that he had been here.

Meanwhile Federal ALP leader Bill Shorten was also in town meeting with a few party officials and lamenting that he could not get hold of WA ALP Senate lead candidate Joe Bullock.

On March 4 at 10.09 pm, Greens Senator Scott gave an adjournment speech to a near empty chamber. The speech was addressed to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott inviting him, “to visit the beautiful state of Western Australia” but to “think carefully about the baggage you pack when you make your next campaign stopover.”

Ludlam invited Abbott to leave at home his “excruciatingly boring three-word slogans” his “homophobia which he waves in people’s faces” and his ever-more insidious attacks on the trade union movement and all working people.

Ludlam also gave prominence to a number of important issues affecting all Australians including renewable energy, uranium mining and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement – the latter which Ludlam referenced as, “the opportunity to choose between predator capitalism and the public interest.”

The video of the speech from an almost empty chamber however, received much wider interest in cyberspace where it went viral and within two weeks had notched up over 700,000 views.

While Abbott and Shorten took part in carefully stage-managed events with their party faithful, Ludlam could be seen at fundraiser events in his name such as a speech night in Subiaco with fellow Victorian MHR Adam Bandt and at a heavy metal band spectacular at the Rosemount Hotel where lead singer of Chaos Divine gave him a ringing endorsement.

Earlier the same day, the Australian Electoral Commission announced that a record 77 candidates had put up their hand to run the re-run. The order of the 1.2 metre-long ballot paper was also decided that day with the Wikileaks Party receiving the No 1 spot, the ALP No 6, the Liberals No18 and the Greens No 27. There are 15 more candidates than last September’s poll and it is open to speculation as to what meaning one can ascribe to this large number of candidates or if this signals a flourishing of democracy or pluralism.

Elsewhere the performance of state Liberal Party Treasurer Troy Buswell made the headlines when he had to resign from cabinet after a drunken driving incident involving his government vehicle.

Since the election was announced there has been an unrelenting media attack on the Greens, in particular, in the corporate clarions of the West, Sunday Times and The Australian.

A measure of the corporate media’s role was seen in their reporting of the Perth March in March Rally against the unrepresentative political agenda of Tony Abbott. The commercial and public media failed to report on the more than 3,000 people who attended the rally on Sunday March 16.

The Communist Party of Australia urges West Australians to vote for the Greens in the Senate re-run election on April 5, as the party has many progressive policies which seek to ease the burden of working class people and bring accountability and transparency to government policy and action.

Next article – Notes from a Brigadista in Cuba

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