You are here

Video & transcript: John Shipton (Assange's father) speaks of descent into barbarity away from 20th C human rights achievements

In this video, on Friday 26 February 2021, John Shipton, Julian Assange's father, launches the Julian Assange road-show, with an interesting and moving speech on human rights, history, and current trends. The bus you can see behind Mr Shipton, will travel from Melbourne to Canberra, via Broadford, Castlemaine, Bendigo, Albury, Wogga - and other country towns, reaching Canberra within a few weeks, in time for opening of the second session of Parliament. There the road-show members will work with the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Julian Assange, to try to convince the Scott Morrison Australian government to bring Julian home.

Transcript of John Shipton's speech 26 Feb 2021

"This week, Anthony Albanese, the leader of the opposition, made a declaration that ten years is enough. Enough's enough, bring him home. He got it a bit wrong. It's eleven years going on twelve. But it's a great movement in the Australian body-politic when the leader of the opposition makes his position known.

We now have 24 strong members in the cross-party group in the Australian parliament. [Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group"] in the Australian parliament. (Parliamentary Julian Assange Group formally established)].

In the Bundestag, the parliament of Germany, we have a cross-party group. In the French parliament, we have a cross-party group. In the Spanish parliament, we have over 40 Podemas members supporting. In the UK parliament, we have a cross-party group. The Italian parliament is the first in the European parliaments - the Five Star group - to put before the Council of Europe, a declaration, which the Council of Europe adopted, that Julian was a protected journalist and should be let go.

The chair of the European Rights Council of the Council of Europe, declared that Julian was protected. Nils Melzer, as you know, the [UN Special] Rapporteur on torture, declared that Julian was a victim of torture. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that Julian was being arbitrarily detained. Every single Western and Russian journalist association have declared Julian a member, and that he ought to be free, and that this persecution must stop.

And, just briefly, a little bit of history: After the horror of the 1945 war, where many many people lost their lives, and many countries were destroyed, the people of the world - that's us - gathered together and established the United Nations. The first president of the United Nations was an Australian - one of us! [1] In 1948, that president organised the Declaration of Human Rights. The Chair of that was Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1958, the Conventions of Asylum were adopted by the United Nations. In 1973, Australia brought before the General Assembly of the United Nations, the conventions of Human Rights and the conventions of Asylum, which were passed by a huge majority. Then, the Council of Europe, which is solely a human rights organisation ... forty-seven nations - I think forty-two, sorry - forty-two nations adopted into their national legislation, the human rights legislation, integrated into the national legislation.

Now, these are the great achievements of the 20th century. I wish to remind you of that. These are the epoch-making achievements of the people of the world of the 20th century. That's us. When you read the phrase, "crimes against humanity," it's not them, over there, it's us, here, our children, mothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, sisters. The crime against us.

When you read the phrase, "war-crime," equally, that's a crime against us. A war-crime is the murder of a village - like Mỹ Lai, in Vietnam. Five hundred people slaughtered, before the gunner of the helicopter courageously said, "If you keep shooting these people, we'll shoot you." That brought an end to the slaughter. Five hundred people. So, crimes against humanity, and war-crimes, are crimes against us.

Julian's persecution for revealing those crimes is the collapse into barbarity of those nations, those western nations, that were instrumental in putting together the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and adopting it into, and embracing it in their national legislation.

So, it benefits us, as an emblem, of this decline into barbarity, to support Julian. And the benefits then come to us. It's clear. This is our duty. Our noble task is to free Julian. And, consequently, the political bodies that rule us, that supposedly are sovereign, and supposedly obey us, will understand that they cannot pursue, any longer, the crimes against humanity, the war-crimes, and to obey the legislation which is embraced in their national legislation.

Sorry to go on a little bit. It's a heavy subject. But - if I could just ... one more thing: I've travelled the world now - last was in America. And the support for Julian - from "us" - is a winner. The tide is flowing towards "us". And lifts us up, and lifts our needs up, and our needs are that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be obeyed, and our governments stop sneaking around the place, murdering farmers in Afghanistan.

So, thank you, and God bless."


[1] In fact, Herbert Vere ('Doc') Evatt, was the third President of the United Nations and not the first President, However, "Australian politician ‘Doc’ Evatt was an important contributor in the early days of the UN’s existence. He helped to make sure that smaller nations like Australia had a say in the organisation, and was the President of the UN General Assembly from 1948 to 1949." See "Australia on the world stage -1945: Australia plays a leading role in founding the United Nations" | National Museum of Australia Digital Classroom. 'Doc' Evatt (1894-1965) was also Foreign Minister in the Labor Governments of John Curtin and Ben Chifley from 1941 until 1949.

In the two federal elections of 1949 and 1951, he faced Australian wartime heroine Nancy Wake, standing for the Liberal Party, and just narrowly defeated her on each occasion, the second time by only 243 votes out of 41,600 (0.6%). In 1951 'Doc' Evatt successfully campaigned against the Liberal Menzies government's referendum proposal to ban the Communist Party of Australia. 'Doc' Evatt remained Leader of the Labor Opposition from 1951 until 1960.

Image icon john-shipton-4-tiny.jpg8.61 KB
Image icon john-Shipton-detail.jpg5.05 KB


As reported on Yahoo News and elsewhere on 23 February:

"Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind releasing Julian Assange from prison after 10 years without freedom.

"The Labor leader was asked at a caucus meeting in Canberra on Tuesday for his view on the ongoing detention of the Australian WikiLeaks founder.

"'Enough is enough,' he responded."

In fact, Anthony Albanese has never said this publicly. He was only reported by another Labor MP to have said this within a meeting of the Federal Labor Party Parliamentary caucus. He never repeated any of this in Parliament or anywhere else in public - certainly nothing was said by Anthony Albanese on his Twitter account (@AlboMP) or on (A search "Julian Assange" revealed nothing.

Althony Albanese was also reported to have said, at that meeting:

"I don't have sympathy for many of his actions …"

I can only guess at which of Julian Assange's actions Anthony Albanese has no 'sympathy' for. As far as I am aware, every informed person, who shares my hope for the well-being of all of humanity, is awed at Julian Assange's courageous efforts to reveal to the world so much about the criminal machinations of the rulers of the United States against their own people and the rest of humanity. Without Julian Assange and Wikileaks that the degree of damage inflicted by the United States on humankind in recent years would have been much greater.

If his support was as sincere as some of Julian Assange's supporters apparently believe, then 'left-wing' Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese would not allow himself to be seen to repeat that implicit smear of Julian Assange.