On March 3, 2023, protesters gathered outside Mark Dreyfus, the Australian Attorney General's office, to complain of Dreyfus's failure to object to the British Government's illegal and cruel imprisonment of heroic Australian citizen, Julian Assange. March 3 is Assange's birthday. Inside is the text of James Sinnamon's speech on that occasion.
Text of James Sinnamon's speech (video embedded below)
We are here today outside the office of a local Member of Parliament. Mark Dreyfus. Mark Dreyfus is the Attorney General of Australia, is the highest legal officer in the country.
As the highest legal officer in Australia, he knows full well that the imprisonment of Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison is illegal. Julian Assange has committed no crime. The only ‘crime’ he has committed is through his Wikileaks news service, telling the world the facts about American crimes - American war crimes - in countries that they have illegally invaded. Those countries include Iraq, Syria, Libya Afghanistan, and others. He also has reported on corruption in the American political system and corruption in the Australian political system. Through Julian Assange, citizens of the world know a whole lot more that the US and the Australian governments would prefer them not to know. That is why, since 2012, he has been effectively locked up - first of all in the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had to flee to avoid being extradited to America. Four years ago, in April 2019, he was illegally taken from the Ecuadorian Embassy and locked away in Belmarsh prison. For most of that time, he has been locked away in solitary confinement.
Julian Assange is guilty of no crime. One crooked judge found Julian Assange guilty of the misdemeanor of skipping bail. Julian Assange skipped bail in 2012 so that he could not be kidnapped and send over to the United States, where they had plans to lock him away in solitary confinement for the rest of his life.
His trial, since April 2019, was thoroughly crooked. No jury, no judge, with any decency, would have sentenced Julian Assange, who has committed no crime to be locked away further in solitary confinement. No decent judge, no decent jury, would have ordered Julian Assange be extradited to the United States. Yet that is exactly what happened.
The only way this could have happened was if the trial was overseen by a crooked judge, under the orders of the British government and United States.
Why didn’t the Australian government say anything about it? It's astonishing how very little has been said by the Australian Parliament about Julian Assange !
The Australian government knows full well that his imprisonment is illegal [but] has chosen to do nothing about it. Albanese, contrary to what he told Monique Ryan, the independent MP in November last year (2022) has done nothing about Julian Assange. He has not spoken to President Biden about Julian Assange. We know this through Freedom of Information.
And why has Albanese and the government done nothing about Julian Assange? We need this to be discussed in Parliament! When Monique Ryan found out that, contrary to what he told her in November, Albanese had done nothing for Julian Assange, she was furious. She said that she would raise this in the next setting of Parliament and get an explanation from Albanese to why he has done nothing for Julian Assange. Parliament next sits on Monday, the 6th of March. We have to make sure that when Parliament sits on the 6th of March that everything about Julian Assange is discussed. We have to have full answers from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. We have to have full answers from the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, as to why they have done nothing to end Julian Assange's illegal imprisonment.
We must also have Parliament properly debate, the whole issue of Julian Assange. Back in December 2021 Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie from Tasmania, tried to put a motion to Parliament which called on the Australian government to contact President Biden and contact the British Government in order to secure Julian Assange’s release.
Parliamentary procedure, which is controlled by the major parties, did not even allow Andrew Wilkie to put his motion to Parliament.
Now, why, if the Australian government knows that it has done everything that it can do and should have done for Julian Assange, why would they not want to use a debate in Parliament to explain that to the Australian people?
What would they choose to not allow those who think the government should act should do more for Julian Assange - why wouldn't the government allow those people to put their case to the Parliamenr. Surely, if the government is right; surely if the government knows that they are wrong, they can say so on the floor of parliament.
The fact that they prevented debate in Parliament reveals to me that they know full well that they have – by what they have done – they have betrayed Julian Assange.
They have not used their vested power as Australian government to tell the British government to release Julian Assange. And they don't want this to be discussed on the floor of parliament.
We must, as citizens of Australia, tell our members of parliament that next time Parliament sits, starting Monday the 6th of February, that we expect a member of parliament - members of parliament - to put to Parliament, the motion calling for Julilan Assange to be released. We expect of our Parliament to debate, and we expect of the Prime Minister, and we expect of his government, to explain to us why they believe they should not act to free Julian Assange.
And we must allow those who think the government should act to free Julian Assange to put their case.
To not have this debated in Parliament, as people around the world are crying out for Julian Assange, is a disgrace. It's like an elephant in the room as a whole world is crying out for Julian Assange’s freedom, as a president of Mexico has called on America to release Julian Assange, as political leaders all over Europe are calling for Julian Assange’s freedom, Australia’s parliament says nothing !
How is that good enough? We have to tell our members of parliament: Either you allow Julian Assange to be debated in Parliament, or you are not fit to be our representative.
We must do all we can, obviously, [unclear] happening inside Parliament at the moment. Hopefully, that can change, but until that changes, it is necessary for us out here who support freedom, who support democracy, who support freedom of speech, and who are against torture, must go on campaigning for Julian Assange. We have to attend protests, such as the weekly Friday evening vigil outside Flinders Street Station, and other protests, to tell people, to tell our government, to act - that Julian Assange should be free. And then our government can act to free Julian Assange.
James Sinnamon calls on Richard Dreyfus and Anthony Albanese to free Julian Assange