By Linda Pearson
Since WikiLeaks raised the ire of the US government in 2010 through the publication of leaked diplomatic cables, PM Gillard’s conduct towards Australian founder, Julian Assange, has been reprehensible.
Gillard is yet to apologise for her inflammatory claims that Assange had acted illegally, despite the AFP’s subsequent findings that he had broken no laws. Her remarks were made at a time when she should have been defending Assange from the US politicians calling for his assassination, and stand in stark contrast to her recent statement that now-ex House of Representatives Speaker, Peter Slipper, and ex-ALP MP, Craig Thomson, should be “entitled to a presumption of innocence”.
The Gillard government’s conduct in this affair continues to highlight the need for the openness and accountability which WikiLeaks exists to promote.
When evidence of the existence of a sealed US grand jury indictment against Assange emerged in February this year, the government denied any knowledge of it. They continue to block the publication of documents relating to the potential extradition of Assange to the US, reportedly at the behest of the US government.
And we still don’t know, despite the Gillard government’s assurances that they would find out, why Assange’s former lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, was stopped at Heathrow Airport and told she was on an “inhibited” travel list.
Meanwhile, Ms Gillard’s government has been quietly passing legislation which will potentially make it easier for the them to extradite Assange to the US, should he ever return to Australia, and legislation which facilitates the US-led attacks against WikiLeaks.
This abrogation of our rights in deference to the US government is unacceptable. With the verdict in Assange’s final appeal against extradition to Sweden expected any day we need to remind PM Gillard that she’s answerable to us, the Australian people, not the US government.
We have organised a protest at the Sydney Convention Centre when Prime Minister Gillard speaks in Sydney on Tuesday May 15 to demand she acts immediately to stop attempts to extradite him there.
Where: Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
When: 1 pm, Tuesday 15 May
Organised by the Support Wikileaks and Assange Coalition. Contact Linda on 0401 511 588 for more information.