WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is still holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but he has announced his absentee bid for Senate to represent the State of Victoria in the coming September 14 federal poll.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks at the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (Photo: News Ltd)
The WikiLeaks Party announced Assange’s decision over the weekend following the party ‘s first national council meeting held in Fitzroy, Melbourne. The campaign is headed by a former Australian Republican Movement head and barrister Greg Barns, who the UK-based Telegraph describes as a “high-profile opponent of the monarchy.”
The party will field high-profile Senate candidates in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. In NSW and WA, the party is already confident that “support for WikiLeaks is strong.” WikiLeaks will announce the candidates after they have been endorsed, Barns said. National Council Member Cassey Findlay added other spokespeople on policy issues will be appointed in the coming weeks. The party will focus on winning Senate seats in all three states.
Supporters of Julian Assange gather at BMW Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne to rally for his safe return home in 2010. (Photo: R Yoon/the Green Journo)
From London, Assange said he is happy with the momentum the party has already achieved. The party also hinted that Assange is encouraged by the progress of the campaign and the support it is getting in Australia.
Topping the Party’s agenda is to promote transparency, truthfulness and the free flow of information on government and politics founded on WikiLeaks principles.
National Council Member Findlay said:
“The WikiLeaks Party is committed to practising in politics what WikiLeaks has done in the field of information, by promoting transparency, truthfulness and the free flow of information”. These, she said, are “fundamental to rational decision making and just outcomes, and they are increasingly missing from the Australian political landscape.”
The party is in the process of completing registration with the Australian Electoral Commission, needing at least 500 members. Assange has urged Australian voters to join the party. “Let us take the fight to Canberra,” he said.
Poster outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (Photo: Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images)
Party spokeswoman Sam Castro said:
We are getting a strong stream of applications to join the Party in recent weeks and to assist in our Federal Election campaign. What is pleasing is that support is coming from people who have either previously not been involved in politics, or who have previously supported one of the major political parties in Australia.
The Ecuadorian government granted Assange asylum in June last year while on the run facing sexual charges involving two women in Sweden. He has been on the watch list of the US since WikiLeaks leaked cables on the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010. Speculation has it that the Sweden charges could be a ploy to extradite Assange to the US.
Prior to the granting of asylum, prominent Americans urged Ecuador to accept Assange’s asylum request. Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky were among the signatories to a letter sent to Ecuador’s embassy in London, Reuters reported.
Greens Senator Christine Milne welcomes the WikiLeaks challenge in Victoria, although she said Assange’s prospects of winning are a long shot. The Greens have been staunch supporters of Assange’s repatriation to Australia.
Blog Link: Asian Correspondent
- WikiLeaks Party unveils Australian election plans (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- WikiLeaks expands bid for senate seats (abc.net.au)
- WikiLeaks bid for Senate (theage.com.au)
- Barrister to run Assange’s Senate bid (bigpondnews.com)
- Work keeps confined Assange sane: dad (bigpondnews.com)
- WikiLeaks Party raises senate bid in Australia (rt.com)
- WikiLeaks’ Assange to run in Australia poll (aljazeera.com)
- Greens leader welcomes WikiLeaks Party (bigpondnews.com)
- WikiLeaks publishes 1.7m US diplomatic records (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Julian Assange and WikiLeaks release 1.7m US diplomatic and intelligence reports (dailymail.co.uk)