Running the Assange Senate campaign like racing into cold surf on hot day


By Greg Barns
April 5, 2013

Julian Assange has been treated appallingly by the Gillard government, and the Tony Abbott led Opposition for that matter.  But Mr Assange’ s Wikileaks and its underpinning philosophies of both blowing open the world of secrecy that permeates bureaucracies and the political masters they serve – and reducing the footprint of the state in the lives of individuals in a democracy – are highly attractive.

These are the two reasons why I decided, having not been involved actively in politics since the Liberal Party threw me aside in 2002 on the basis that my attacks on its asylum seeker policies were high treason, to join Mr Assange and the fledging Wikileaks Party’s federal election campaign.  In a bleak political landscape (has it ever been as debased as it is today?) Mr Assange’s political movement is a tonic.  It’s the political equivalent of racing into the cold surf on a 40 degree day.

Make no mistake, as the veteran Michelle Grattan wrote this week, Assange is in the mix to win a Senate seat in Victoria.  And the Party can win seats in other states with the right candidates.  These are big calls to make and they are made with the usual caveat that a week is a long time in politics, but there is in the Australian community strong support for Assange and Wikileaks.

Many Australians think Julian Assange has been dealt a raw deal by the Gillard government.  It has been prepared to watch one of its own citizens hunted down by the US in the knowledge that if Julian Assange ends up in the United States he will be tortured.  Not one skerrick of political and diplomatic capital has been expended by Ms Gillard and the officials in DFAT to try and work out a political solution which would allow Assange to return to Australia after answering questions a Swedish prosecutor wants to put to him concerning relationships he had with a couple of women in that country.

That Assange’s Wikileaks movement is growing a political arm in Australia is a logical step.  There is no party in this country which unambiguously believes that we need to roll back the surveillance state.  Greens Senator Scott Ludlam from Western Australia has been a champion of this issue but he is too often a lone voice in the Senate.

Since 9/11 particularly both the Coalition and the ALP driven by the fear mongers in ASIO, ASIS, the Federal Police and the Attorney-General’s Department, has passed reams of laws and regulations designed to diminish individual liberty.  In the shameful absence of a Human Rights Act there has been no check or balance on laws which enable citizens to be surveilled and have their movements controlled or their data raided.

The other aspect of WikiLeaks and Assange’s views that appeals to me is that it’s the enemy of cosy deals between government and business.  And it rightly argues that a government that acts in secret is an undemocratic one.  The modus operandi of Australian governments from time immemorial has been to indulge in both with little or no real scrutiny.

There is in the Wikileaks Party a strand of liberalism which has long been attractive to me.  That is, that democracy works best when there is open government, transparency and a genuine commitment in word and deed to primacy of the individual.

The Wikileaks Party and Julian Assange are filling a gap in the political ideas marketplace in Australia.  Its fresh approach to policy making and to democratic values is compelling.

It has reinvigorated my interest in Australian democracy.

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  1. skywriter says

    Australian democracy is an oxymoron.

  2. This is the type of movement needed for Australian Democracy. The party movement is THE major threat to democracy. Loyalty to the party takes precedence over slectoral representation. The Senate should be independent of parties in the house.
    Start the recovery of our democracy in the Senate.

  3. I fully support JA in what he stands for and what he believes,and am very disappointed in the way Lab.has continued to handle this case.We need to show more courage and independence from America,one of the main reasons,but of many I despised the Howard government.Refugee attitude also.I am hopeful our Labour gov.after the elections will turn back to some of the grass roots ideals we once held up as basic principles.

  4. Ditto from me Rob54.
    I hope you, SkyBoy, and Gilly above have joined The WikiLeaks Party as I have.

    Just go here Online Membership Form and do the usual stuff. In September we will be glad we did.
    We have all got to stop believing in the USA of Uncle Walt, and wake up to the treachery.
    They have Sveden over a barrel because there is a big construction deal in place, which will not happen unless the Chiefs Of Staff get JA in a courtroom with poor Bradley Manning.

    That Svedish ‘Judge’ who spoke in Adelaide would have been a bigger joke than The Muppets Swedish Chef … except political imprisonment is no laughing matter.

    • Ethel Lang says

      Thank you for the link. I haven’t voted for some time due to loss of faith & have now submitted the paperwork. Having read Tony Abbott’s Address to Institute of Public Affairs 70th Anniversary Dinner, Melbourne. Friday, 5 April 2013 spurred me on…..for which I’m grateful. We so badly need JA.

      • Hi EL – we all know he is a bit of a creep, but so are most of the current Senate, and this opportunity to just show the bastards how many #1 votes JA can achieve, might help them wake up.
        I don’t expect him to succeed, it would be too good.
        He enabled War Filth to be revealed, and there more where it came from and that’s why good people are anti-War. Big business is not though.
        There is more to our lives than shareholder dividends from supplying armies. Never forget where Bradley Manning has been for years either. cheers

  5. LindaDom says

    hankyou and the best of luck, you’ll Definetly get a pref from me. but I’m Greens first.
    can’t believe the way JA has been treated, well I can but it is so wrong.
    Scott has been a champion for JA and I hope he regains his senate seat as it is a bit shaky.