by Alison Ryan
Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, joined supporters of Julian Assange to speak at the Converge on Canberra for Assange rally on the lawns of Parliament House on 28 July, 2022.
Mr Wilkie called again for common sense and media freedom to prevail, urging for the extradition of Mr Assange to the United States to be dropped and for him to be allowed to return to Australia.
“Julian Assange faces the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars in a US supermax prison for revealing hard evidence of US war crimes and other misconduct. If the extradition is successful, it would be a direct attack on press freedom and set the frightening precedent for all Australians, particularly for journalists, that they are at risk of extradition to any country that they offend.”
“Journalism is not a crime and Mr Assange shouldn’t be persecuted for doing his job. He is a hero and should be held up as a symbol of media freedom.”
“This is a case of the US wanting revenge against a lone man who did nothing more than publish information which was undeniably in the public interest. It has always been a political matter and the Australian Government can’t keep kowtowing to the whims of Washington.”
“I have no doubt Mr Albanese has enough influence and good relationships to pick up the phone and end this madness. It’s beyond time for the Government to say enough is enough and to bring Julian home.”
Other speakers at Converge on Canberra for Assange included MC Mary Kostakidis, Peter Whish-Wilson Greens MP, Bridget Archer Liberal MP, Monique Ryan Independent MP, David Shoebridge Greens MP, Jordan Steele-John Greens MP, Julian Hill Labor MP, Christin Lambang- Foyne of Amnesty International, Julian Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton by pre-recorded message, Sue Wareham of Doctors for Assange – there are over 300 of them now internationally raising awareness of the great cost to Julian’s health and personal life – and James Ricketson.
House of Representatives, Member for Bass, Bridget Archer stated,
“This is a question of mercy and compassion for an Australian citizen who has endured inhumane conditions and has suffered significant mental and physical challenges as a result of his ongoing incarceration due to this protracted battle. He has not been convicted of a crime but has already served a lengthy sentence.”
The young Senator from Western Australia, Jordan Steele-John told the Rally,
“President Joe Biden admitted that the persecution and prosecution of Julian Assange was basically because he had embarrassed the United States. “
“Julian’s life is at stake let us make no mistake and democracy itself is at stake. The question before the Australian government now is will it prioritize finally after all this time the liberty and human rights of an Australian citizen and in so doing send a clear message that Australia is a nation which will champion the freedom of the press, which will champion human rights, which will push back on the United States of America, and call them out when they commit human rights abuses, or will they once again remain silent and hide behind diplomatic protocols. That is the decision before the new parliament and the new government today.”
Julian’s brother and film producer, Gabriel Shipton, stated by pre-recorded message to the Rally that,
“He and Julian’s father, John Shipton, toured the USA where they met with civil society groups who have been calling on the Biden administration to drop the charges against Julian because of the threat they pose to press freedom. They met with Congress people both Republican and Democrat who see the threat that Julian’s prosecution means to their first amendment and their democratic rights.”
He continued, “In Germany we met with a cross cross-party group that includes parliamentarians from every major German political party. Over 90 German parliamentarians are now calling for Julian Assange
to be released. We even met with the German foreign ministry. We met with the state minister there
who’s the second in charge after the foreign minister. So, Germany is very concerned. Even the German government are very concerned about the threat Julian Assange’s prosecution means to their journalists in the UK.”
“We have travelled all around the country with Stellar Assange, Julian’s wife, as we did a screening
with the film Ithaka, https://ithaka.movie/, that’s about John and Stella’s fight to free Julian. We screened the film and spoke to people in Norwich, in Liverpool, in Manchester, in Glasgow, in Edinburgh, in Exeter, all over the UK. We spoke to thousands of people all concerned about what’s going on and the persecution of Julian Assange.”
“There is a global wave of support for Julian that just keeps growing and growing and growing
and everyone here today is part of that wave.”
“John and I will be in Canberra and we will be asking the government to really step up their calls for Julian Assange to be released and for the Biden administration to drop the charges.”
Source: Consortium News