Ten days before the federal election, Julian Assange is confident of securing a Victorian Senate seat and insists recent party resignations will help, rather than hinder, his cause.
The WikiLeaks Party leader has outlined his position on key policy issues including same-sex marriage and paid parental leave during an extensive interview inside Ecuador’s embassy in London.
He believes he can not only win a Senate spot but will eventually engage in parliamentary debate.
“It’s going to be a fight but the chances are good,” Assange told AAP.
“Taking into account the last poll of the ALP, coalition and the Greens it’s likely I will be elected in Victoria to the Senate if we get more than four per cent of the vote.”
If the Greens vote is as high as many expect, Assange, 42, argues its excess quota could flow to WikiLeaks and see him elected.
Assange’s former running mate Leslie Cannold and a number of his party’s national council members quit last week, citing a lack of transparency and accountability.
His close friend Daniel Mathews was among those to walk.
“I’m pleased that resignation has occurred because it removed a source of conflict which was holding the party back,” Assange said.
“There were some views that the WikiLeaks Party should be a front for the Greens but it was never meant to be a front.”
The resignations followed controversy over the distribution of preferences.
But Assange dismisses suggestions the party imploded.
“We had a significant increase in the number of members as a result of the publicity,” he said.
“It is hostile campaigning ostensibly by the Greens.
“They are not satisfied to have one senator in each state. They would like two and they see us, correctly, as a rival.”
Earlier this week the former computer hacker attempted to raise the party’s profile by donning a blond mullet wig and lip-syncing to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice in a comedy video for Juice Rap News.
Assange said it was fun to “take the piss” out of himself.
“It’s the nature of my work – exposing the deaths of 100,000 people in Iraq or Afghanistan or some assassination plot or sex abuse by UN peacekeepers – that you can’t joke about it,” the Senate candidate said.
“As a result you tend to build up a very, very serious image.
“But like paramedics and soldiers, people inside WikiLeaks the publishing organisation have quite a black sense of humour – that’s how we get through all the troubles.”
Assange has been holed up in the embassy for more than a year avoiding extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.
He argues that if elected to the upper house it won’t alter his current predicament from a legal perspective.
“But it would send a signal to the Australian government that it should protect Australian publishers from pressure from the United States.”