Culture

Exclusive: Behind The Scenes Of Senator Scott Ludlam’s Huge Win For The Greens

Our new longform series launches with the story behind The Greens' accidental hero Scott Ludlam, and the web-savvy and youth-targeted campaign that captured a national discontent.

Introducing Junkee’s  new “Headliners” series, which brings together in-depth journalism and beautiful design.

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On Saturday April 5, Western Australia went to the polls for the second time in six months. The Australian Electoral Committee had lost 1,370 ballots during the September federal election, and the High Court had ordered a do-over.

Six Senate seats were up for grabs, and so was the balance of power in the Upper House. The stakes were high. And between the first election and the second, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s ‘Welcome To WA’ anti-Abbott smackdown went viral, on this site and beyond. “Prime Minister,” he said, “you are welcome to take your heartless, racist exploitation of people’s fears and ram it as far from Western Australia as your taxpayer-funded travel entitlements can take you. We want our country back.”

A rare instance of an Australian politician speaking for the disillusioned, the speech was meme’d, turned into t-shirts, and shared prolifically on social media. But after losing his seat, then winning it in a recount, and then finding out the results were void, would this be the end of the line for Ludlam?

Junkee’s Alex McKinnon went to Perth to spend five days on Scott Ludlam’s campaign trail, and came back with the story of an unprecedented swing towards the Greens, and the shifting of a national mood.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE EXCLUSIVE STORY