Australian Parliament, which sits next week from Monday 6 September, must be made, finally, to debate Julian Assange's fate. At the weekly vigil for Julian Assange outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station in the evening of last Friday 26 August, James Sinnamon explained how, if Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end its imprisonment of Julian Assange, he would almost certainly comply without delay, and Julian Assange would be free today.
Seventeen months ago, Julian Assange completed his outrageously punitive maximum 50 week sentence for the 'misdemeanour' of 'skipping bail' in 2012 to seek asylum at the London Ecuadorian Embassy. His continued imprisonment since then, to facilitate his extradition to the United States, a country of which he is not even a citizen, is completely illegal.
Were Anthony Albanese to demand of Boris Johnson that he free Assange, and were Johnson not to immediately comply, then Albanese would have recourse to the International Criminal Court, the various arms of the United Nations, and to international public opinion, which is overwhelmingly in support of Julian Assange. Faced with legal action, proceedings at the United Nations, and the international outcry that would be far greater than the current outcry in support of Julian Assange, both Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden would very quickly abandon their pursuit of Julian Assange and pray that the world could come to forget their criminal conduct.
However, because Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has chosen not to pursue such a course of action, Julian Assange remains behind bars, and the likelihood of his being extradited to the United States increases with each passing day. ,
There is a "Bring Julian Assange Home" Parliamentary Support Group that wants the government to act. On at least three occasions since 2020 they have tried to put to Parliament foreshadowed motions, calling on the Australian government to act to end the imprisonment of Julian Assange. ,,
However, on each occasion, those in control of the Labor Party and the Liberal/National Coalition, have colluded to disallow the motions from even being put! How, in a purported democracy is this even possible?
The most famous and most revered Australian anywhere faces being locked away for the rest of his life, and Australia's Parliament can't even bring itself to discuss this!
Surely, if Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, have done all that they could have done and should have done on behalf of Julian Assange, then they would have nothing to fear from such a debate next week?
I think that, from the fact that they have so far prevented such a debate, whether in government or in opposition, we are entitled to conclude that they are hiding something from the people of Australia, and from the people of the rest of the world.
We must tell Prime Minister Albanese and our Parliament that this is just not good enough! They must be made to hold themselves to account for their inaction, such as through debate over the following motion foreshadowed by Julian Hill MP on 10 June 2021 (posted at https://candobetter.net/admin/blog/6134/julian-hill-mp-put-crucial-motion-julian-assange-australian-parliament-coming-monday):
that this House: (1) notes that:
(a) the trial and extradition of Mr Julian Assange are inconsistent with international law, and Australian legal standards, and contravene the legal rights and protections for which those laws and standards provide;
(b) the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has found that Mr Assange 'showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma';
(c) several medical reports find that Mr Assange is in ill-health due to prolonged arbitrary confinement, and indeed the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that the 50-week sentence of Mr Assange for bail violation, which formally ended on 21 September 2019, was punitive and disproportionate given the nature of the offence and the usual sentence;
(d) Mr Assange is facing extradition for an alleged political offence, which is expressly prohibited by Article 4(1) of the Anglo-US Extradition Treaty and an abuse of power; and
(e) Mr Assange is an Australian citizen and, if convicted in the US, faces 175 years in prison, which would be in effect a death sentence;
(2) acknowledges that Mr Assange is a publisher and journalist, as recognised by his 2011 Walkley award and 17 other awards for excellence in journalism and promoting human rights, and that his charges: (a) are a direct assault on press freedom; and (b) threaten the protection of others who publish classified information in the public interest; and (3) calls for Mr Assange to be allowed to return to Australia.