Greens communications spokesperson misses out on Senate spot

The Australian Greens' communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam becomes a single term Senator after he missed out on retaining his seat in the Parliament.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Greens communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam will leave the parliament at the end of June next year, after he missed out on retaining the seat that he won at the 2007 election.

The six seats in Western Australia ultimately went to Liberal MPs David Johnston, Michaelia Cash, Linda Reynolds, Labor MPs Louise Pratt, Joe Bullock, and Palmer United Party candidate Zhenya Wang.

Ludlam tweeted that he was seeking a potential recount, but on the current standing, he will end his time in the senate that commenced in 2008 at the end of June 2014 as the new Senate sits in July.

Due to the peculiarities of the Australian Senatorial election system, at a critical juncture in the count, 14 votes decide whether Ludlam holds onto his seat or not. ABC Election Analyst, Antony Green, pointed out that should the 14 vote gap be reversed, then the Labor and Palmer United parties would lose their seats in favour of the Greens and Australian Sports Party.

During his time in the Senate, Ludlam has seen down two communications ministers and three shadow communications ministers. He has been a strong supporter of the Labor government's National Broadband Network (NBN), but has also found himself siding with the Coalition on Labor's proposed mandatory internet filter. His particular attention to the communications and information security area gained prominience in Senate Estimates hearings over the last few years, where he would focus in sharply on government surveillance proposals such as data retention.

 He was also the staunchest defender of WikiLeaks in the Australian parliament, but WikiLeaks preferenced the Nationals above Ludlam in the election. Although ultimately it has been reported that Wikileaks preferencing did not cause Ludlam to lose his seat.

Ludlam told ZDNet in August that should he fail to retain his seat, then there would be others in the Greens would take up the communications and IT role in his place.

"I think it has been mischaracterised, as I'm the only one in parliament who cares about or works on these issues, but we've got a strong Greens team who will continue to take on these issues no matter what. I'm hoping that I'm part of it, but even if I'm not, we'll continue to do that work," he said.

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