At a protest for Julian Assange, which commenced outside the Victorian State Library at 12:00pm on Sunday 28 September, protestors demanded that the Australian government use the power vested in it as a sovereign national government to make British Prime Minister Liz Truss end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange.
The article below is an adaptation of a double-sided A4 leaflet (PDF attached below) which I handed out last night at a community meeting in Frankston, Victoria. The meeting was organised by Peta Murphy, the Federal Labor member for the local seat of Dunkley.
Update, Tue 26 July: A new larger PDF file which includes a duplicate of the first double-sided A5 page has been uploaded. Without this addition, the second page will be blank. I am about to find out if the problem is fixed. My apologies.
On last Sunday 23 July, Julian Assange's 51st birthday, supporters of Julian Asssange in Melbourne held two events to both celebrate his birthday and to demand the Australian government act to make the British government end its illegal imprisonmment of julian Assange and to prevent the no less illegal efforts by the United States to extradite Julian Assange.
My open letter to newly elected Australian Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese argues that as Australian PM he could almost certainly force Britain to end its illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange and also force the US to end its efforts to extra
"Now that you are Prime Minister, we urge you to waste no time in making good on your wish to see Julian Assange’s ordeal come to an end, as the issue is now beyond critical, with his current health status meaning time is of the essence. It is now much too late for legal remedies.
Phillip Adams wrote on May 27, 2022 — "Mr Albanese is also a signatory to the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign petition." (ABC 27-5-2022)
Your action can help save Julian Assange. Urge new PM and Foreign Affairs Minister to speak to President Biden at Japan conference
Dear friends of IPAN
We congratulate the people of Australia for voting in a new government comprised of Labor, Greens and Independents demonstrating a real community led demand for quality change in so many areas.
Whilst millions around the world have been protesting for Julian Assange almost nothing has been said for years on the floor of the Parliament of the country of which Julian is a citizen - Australia. This is not because Julian Assange has no support in Parliament. In fact, the "Bring Julian Assange Home" has 26 members. But arcane parliamentary procedural rules have, so far, made it impossible for those 26 supporters of Julian Assange to put his case to the floor of our Parliament. Twice so far, in June and again in August, the Parliamentary Selection Committee has prevented Julian Hill from putting to Parliament his motion (see below) in support of Julian Assange.
What sort of parliament prevents such a large group of supporters of the most famous Australian in the world from putting its case? It is time that ordinary Australians told their local members that this is just not good enough. As I have done below, they must put to Prime Minister Scott Morrison as well as each of their local members: If they are not prepared to raise their voices within Parliament for Julian Assange, then at least allow those who do want to raise their voices to do so. At least allow Julian Hill to put his motion to the floor of Parliament for a proper debate (and not just the 10-30 minutes allowed for each Private Members Motion (PMM) only on Monday mornings - and even that inadequate amount of time has been denied to Julian Hill!).
What have you to fear from a debate on Julian Assange? - Open Letter to Scott Morrison
Dear Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese,
(I have previously, on 11 March, written another Open Letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison concerning Julian Assange and have yet to receive a reply. The earlier Open Letter is here.)
I am writing to request that, as a matter of urgency, you allow a motion concerning Australia's award-winning journalist Julian Assange, which was first foreshadowed almost 8 weeks ago by Julian Hill MP, to be put to the House of Representatives, debated and voted upon.
This motion, which is included below as an appendix, was first foreshadowed by Julian Hill on Wednesday 16 June. Last year Andrew Wilkie had also tried to have a motion concerning Julian Assange debated on the floor of Parliament, but was unsuccessful.
So, after all this time, after more than nine years of the illegal detention and psychological torture of Julian Assange, including more than two years of solitary confinement for 23 hours per day at Belmarsh Prison, and as he faces the threat of extradition to face even worse conditions of imprisonment in the United States for the rest of his life, the Australian Parliament has yet to have any discussion longer than the two minutes duration allowed in Question Time about this Australian citizen!
How can this be? With millions of people around the world crying out for the release of Julian Assange, surely our Parliament should be able to find the time to discuss the treatment, by Britain and the United States, of Australia's most famous citizen?
I had naively thought that that a Parliamentary motion only needed a mover and a seconder for it to be put, but this is not the case with Julian Hill's foreshadowed motion.
Apparently, because, even with the "Bring Julian Assange Home" Parliamentary Group having 26 members, Julian Hill's motion has still been designated a Private Member's Motion (PMM). As a PMM it can only be debated on a Monday, that is, if that Monday is not a public holiday and it can only be debated if the Parliamentary Selection Committee, which is comprised of members of the Government and the Opposition, first agrees on the previous Wednesday to let that motion be put!
And even were Julian Hill's PMM to be approved, a total of only one hour and fifty minutes is allowed to debate whatever seven PMMs are approved of by the Selection Committee - an average of less than 16 minutes, and as little as 10 minutes, per PMM.
So far, even this miniscule period of time has not been allowed by the Selection Committee to supporters of Julian Assange to put their case to Parliament . Twice so far, on Wednesday 17 June and, again, on Wednesday 4 August, the Selection Committee has rejected Julian Hill's foreshadowed motion.
Am I to conclude from this that both the Government and the Opposition fear any debate about Julian Assange on the floor of Parliament, let alone a proper debate in which everyone with a view on Julian is allowed to speak?
On the other hand, if you truly believe that you have fully discharged all of your responsibilities towards Julian Assange, then what have you to fear from such a debate? Why not move a procedural motion to allow Julian Hill's motion to be fully debated on the floor of Parliament?
Surely, then, in the course of the ensuing debate, you can show Parliament, Australia and the rest of the world how both Julian Hill and I are wrong.
Appendix: Notice of Motion by Julian Hill MP (first posted here)
MEMBER FOR CLARKE: I give notice that on the next day of sitting (Monday 21/6/21 - JS) I shall move 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.
|Federal Labour Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese ('Albo' - pictured right), on Australia Day, tweeted in praise of local Australian heroes, with the glaring exception of Julian Assange, the most widely-recognised Australian anywhere, whose suffering is unfathomable, and whose services to the anti-war movement are immeasurable. Why wasn't Julian Assange included and why does the Australian Government allow the UK and the US to continue their illegal persecution, imprisonment, and torture, of this Australian citizen?|
Anthony Albanese's Australia Day tweet about Australian local heroes fails to mention another Australian who is at least as heroic of any one of the four people featured in that image, and far more famous: Julian Assange
"These are the true heroes of Australia. They put themselves on the line every day of this pandemic – to keep us safe, to keep us healthy, and to keep Australia moving forward. On this Australia Day, on behalf of the nation, we say thank you."
… I posted:
"Thanks to @julianAssange_">@julianAssange_ https://wikileaks.org and @SaveManning">@SaveManning we now know the truth about Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, US Political corruption, … Surely, Julian Assange is no less an Australian hero? Why won't our Parliament demand Julian's freedom?"
Julian Assange is an Australian citizen who has committed no crime. Julian's only 'crime' is to set up the Wikleaks news service from which we have learned a great deal about the United States' wars, proxy wars, and economic sanctions, impacting extensively on humankind through recent decades. These malign actions by the U.S. government have cost the lives of many hundreds of thousands in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, Bolivia, Haiti, Venezuela, and elsewhere, as well as causing economic devastation. Were it not for Wikileaks revealing to us much of what the U.S. government would prefer to have kept hidden from us, we can only guess what further amount of carnage and devastation would have ensued.
As has been found by Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture , Julian Assange has been effectively imprisoned and tortured for 9 years now. Following the initial 8 years Julian spent confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy, in order to avoid being extradited to the U.S., he was outrageously locked up for an additional 50 weeks in a maximum security prison, mostly in solitary confinement, by the disgraceful London magistrate Vanessa Barraitser, for skipping bail in 2012. He had skipped bail only in order to legitimately seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Fifty weeks is the absolute maximum that anyone can be sentenced to for skipping bail, and the length of Assange's sentence was unheard of. When this outrageous sentence expired, Barraitser further extended it, giving the U.S. government lawyers' more time to prepare their 'case' for Julian's extradition.
Should the United States government succeed in having Julian Assange extradited, he stands to be tried in secret  before a jury selected from the Eastern District of Virginia, a community which consists almost entirely of U.S. spy agency employees and their spouses. It is highly unlikely that any one of these jurors would pay the least regard to any evidence put forward in Julian Assange's defence. Almost certainly, he stands certain to be found guilty and thence to be sentenced to 175 years in solitary confinement. Once Julian Assange's sentence commences, he would only be allowed to leave his cell for 1 hour each day for exercise - this is effectively a death sentence, if not worse,
Even the extradition hearings have been a cruel medieval travesty of justice. Julian was deprived of sufficient preparation for his defense. He was subsequently brought into the courtroom in handcuffs, held inside a glass cage from which he could not hear clearly, and denied the right to speak in private to his lawyers. Public seating at the court was severely limited, so coverage of the event was grossly inadequate. The mainstream press avoided covering this crucial international matter and, when it did, it tended simply to publish press releases from the US legal team, ignoring Julian's defense. The trial was not publicly filmed and the alternative press had virtually no access to what was going on. Although disallowing Julian's extradition on medical grounds, the judge threw out matters relating to the political nature of the United State's pursuit of Julian because he had exposed its war-crimes and corruption, with US officials urging his assassination, and the public right to know about these crimes and anything else that governments do. Two Australian parliamentarians have visited Julian and have tried to stick up for him, but the Australian Government ignored their reports. Unfortunately the United States has been allowed to appeal even the judge's denial of extradition on medical grounds, and Julian continues to be held in prison whilst his massive team of persecutors prepare more ersatz legal arguments whereby they claim the right to cover up their own grotesque crimes.
Surely the Australian government has a duty of care to any Australian citizen, but particularly to a citizen who has contributed so much to humanity and who has committed no crime. Even skipping bail was deemed justified by the United Nations, which has tried to intervene on Julian's behalf, but which the UK government has persistently and shamelessly ignored.
It is long past the time in which the Australian government should have intervened against the U.S. government's efforts to kidnap Julian Assange from London. The Australian government should act now to demand that the U.K. immediately free Julian Assange from his illegal detention and send him on a flight back home to Australia, with a guarantee of immunity from United States pursuit when he gets here. Were the Australian government not to do this, the matter certainly should be raised on the floor of Parliament by Anthony Albanese and debated. But Albanese is missing in action so far.
 Nils Melzer's full title is "United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment"
 Were Julian Assange to be tried in public, the United States 'case' against him would fall in a heap. The whole world would see the real United States' government for the outlaw rogue regime that it really is. Although I have, so far, not viewed the documentary evidence for this, I think it is safe for me to assume that the United States' government intends to conduct its 'trial' of Julian Assange in secret, hidden away from public view. In retrospect, I don't know if this was ever raised by Julian's defence team, but had the U.S. prosecution refused to give an undertaking to try Julian public, it's 'case' would have been shown to be even more of a joke than it already was.
See also: Mark Latham's political gift to John Howard of 19 Nov 2007; Labor Leadership Contenders' Views on East West Link - Albo opposes it! of 6 Oct 2013; Contendor for Australian Labor Party leadership defends Syria against US-sponsored terrorism of 21 Sep 2013; Appendix: "refugee rights" activist opposed to Albanese (includes video).
Former Labor Party leader Mark Latham and two mainstream corporate newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review have shown their particular dislike for Anthony Albanese, a candidate for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Albanese's video speech in support of Syria against terrorism was embedded in an article published on candobetter on 21 September 2013. On 26 September 2013 the Australian Financial Review published an article by former Labor Party leader Mark Latham, Why Anthony Albanese shouldn't lead Labor. Judith Ireland of the Sydney Morning Herald referred to Latham's article in Anthony Albanese is an 'intellectual lightweight': Mark Latham. The article featured an embedded Sydney radio 2UE interview with Mark Latham.
The substance of Latham's case against Albanese was that he had failed to distance himself from NSW Labor member of Legislative Council Ian Mcdonald who had been found on 31 July 2013 by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to have behaved corruptly.
The article largely consisted of restatements of the economic neoliberal views he shares with Hawke, Keating and the late Margaret Thatcher:
"...The Hawke/Keating economic model of open, competitive markets can be used to appeal to Australia's rising aspirational class. Obstacles exist internally, but the sooner Labor stops thinking of itself as a trade union party rather than an aspirational party, the sooner it will regain power."
"After 20 years of economic growth and wealth accumulation, people have become more self-reliant. They have less need for government and less interest in government. This should work to the ALP's advantage. It no longer needs to juggle dozens of issues simultaneously, developing a labyrinth of new spending programs that drive the budget into deficit."
"... he was wrong to endorse ... protectionism ..."
"If he wins next month's leadership ballot, he will be a case study in inner-city, left-wing bunkum."
Latham described Anthony Albanese's speech, embedded above, as "one of the worst speeches in recent Labor history" and a "a throwback to the 1960s, a narrow, insular pitch to the party's ever-shrinking industrial base".
Given Mark Latham's support for the re-election of John Howard in 2007 and his opposition to the ACTU's "Your Rights at work" campaign, his hostility to Anthony Albanese seems a very good reason to vote for him.
#appendix3491" id="appendix3491">Appendix: "refugee rights" activist opposed to Albanese
Another group who have shown hostility to Anthony Albanese are ostensible refugee rights activists. In this video, whilst campaigning for Labor Party Leadership on the railway bridge at Sydenham station on 29 Aug 2013, Anthony Albanese is confronted by a refugee rights activist who objects to Papua New Guinea asylum seeker solution of the previous Federal Labor Government.
In this video Albanese is denied a chance to state his view.
It is curious that, unlike Albanese, who spoke up for Syria, few ostensible Australian refugee rights organisations concern themselves with what drives many refugees to flee their own countries, namely wars fought against Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, Somalia, etc. by the US, the UK, France, Australia and their allies.
Further to this, Shorten either deliberately or naively melded the issues of Australia’s immigration program with the issue of refugees, seen by most of Australia, it seems as “boat people” thanks to the mainstream media who make it seem so. This is what Shorten said:
“We in Labor, we're pro-immigration. We are pro the growth of our population through immigration. We are pro-refugees. It is not a bad thing to want to come here. People should know where we stand.”
It should not be necessary for a political leader or anyone in our “civilized “society to say “we are pro refugees” ! Really, who would be or declare themselves to be “anti refugees”, the opposite of what Shorten declares the ALP to be? To be anti refugees is in a similar moral category to being “anti homeless” or “anti unemployed” That is say anti people in unfortunate circumstances! Who was brought up like that? I don’t know anyone who was!
All these predicaments that people can find themselves in are the responsibility of governments to do something about. But neither of the major parties in recent years has given the impression of welcoming refugees. Maybe this is just “bad press”, because Australia actually continues quietly to re-settle about 20,000 refugees per year and I understand that most of the asylum seekers who arrive by boat are assessed to have genuine claims to asylum and have been settled in Australia. In August, however Kevin Rudd announced a plan to send all boat arrivals to Papua New Guinea, never to be settled in Australia!
Neither party knows quite what to say to the Australian people it seems but everyone is agreed that it is good if the Australian people see refugees as interchangeable with the county’s immigration program. Both parties have wished to appear to the Australian populace to be very unwelcoming of refugees or at least reluctantly accepting .
As any real numbers person would know (and I think they are few and far between), the Australian refugee intake is chicken feed compared with the actual immigration program including all other categories. The difference is about tenfold! The annual immigration program is about 200,000. ABS data released today show that the Australian population grew by nearly 400,000 in the year to March 2013.
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
“The preliminary estimates of net overseas migration (NOM) recorded for the year ended 31 March 2013 (238,300 people) was 10.5%, or 22,600 people, higher than the net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 31 March 2012 (215,700 people). (3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2013).
Australian governments, Labor or Liberal preside over huge numbers of invitees moving to Australia. These are people who already have a country of their own, already live in a house or apartment in that country and are by global standards not badly off. Many of these people are business migrants, or skilled workers and, of course, about 30,000 per year are New Zealanders, who can move to Australia at will due to the Trans Tasman agreement
It is disingenuous of Bill Shorten to bundle together in the same statement the issues of refugees immigration and Australia’s population now and in the future . To do this is a sort of emotional blackmail.
It is the 90% of people from overseas annually who are shaping our future as an overpopulated land mass rather than the relatively small number of refugees. A good numbers person will not stress too much over the environmental effects of an additional 20,000 refugees who need somewhere to call home (unless you are Fiona Scott now the Liberal MP for Lindsay who in a televised interview before the election attributed heavy Western Sydney road traffic to refugees!) when 200,000 + people annually who really want to increase consumption and therefore their environmental impact are coming to Australia to do just that!
When Shorten put population growth, immigration programs and refugees all in one basket what could his opponent, Mr. Albanese say? Had Albanese wanted to clarify the situation - and I don’t know that he did - he would have run the risk of sounding like someone who was trying to explain when he stopped beating his wife! He might as well have let that one go through to the keeper – and I believe he did.
See also: Mark Latham, who opposed "Your Rights at Work" campaign and supported Howard in 2007, says Albanese shouldn't be Labor leader of 9 Oct 2013; Labor Leadership Contenders' Views on East West Link - Albo opposes it! of 6 Oct 2013.
Update, 28 Nov 2013: No mention was made of Syria by Albanese, Shorten or the audience in the leadership debate of 24 September. (Whilst this could have been because of time constraints, it seems a surprising omission.)
On 20 April, 2013, Anthony Albanese, a candidate for the national leadership of the Labor Party by membership ballot,1 expressed 2 his support for Syria3. This is contrary to how much of the senior leadership of the Labor Party has acted. 4 For two and a half years they supported the United States as Syria has tried to defend itself against invasion by proxy terrorists armed, paid for and supplied by the United States. This war has, so far, since March 2011, cost 100,000 lives.
Although Labor is no longer in Government following its defeat at the elections of 7 September 2013, Anthony Albanese's support for Syria is a welcome change to the collusion of senior members of the previous Labor Government with the United States in its war against Libya and the proxy terrorist war Syria. Kevin Rudd, as "roving" Australia Foreign Minister in the Middle East in March 2011, colluded with the United States to help create the international environment that enabled the U.S and its NATO allies to bomb and invade Libya in 2012. Since then, both Kevin Rudd and former Foreign Minister Bob Carr have colluded to help facilitate the terrorist war against Syria by the United States.
The above video is cause to hope that Labor may to return to its past tradition of opposing unjust wars as exemplified by the withdrawal of Australia from the Vietnam War by the newly elected Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in December 1972. Had Labor as a whole so vocally opposed the war against Syria, the level of the political discussion during the election campaign would have been raised and the outcome of the 7 September elections may well have been different.
#fn3465_2" id="fn3465_2">2. #txtSubj2">↑ The included Youtube broadcast was embedded in the Crikey article of 2 2013 by Andrew Crook, Support for Syrian missile strike could test Labor unity.
#fn3465_3" id="fn3465_3">3. #txtSubj3">↑ As appears to be mandatory, Anthony Albanese also expressed his support for 'multi-culturalism'. Whilst Syria can rightly be held up as an example of different cultures living in harmony alongside each other for centuries, most notably, between Christians and Muslims, the same cannot be said for Australia, where multiculturalism has been used since the 1970's as a smokescreen to enable governments to impose high immigration.
As a consequence, native Australian workers have had their working conditions reduced or have been replaced altogether. The most infamous example is Section 457 visas by which employers are able to import workers with the supposed skills they claim to need in preference to properly training their own workforce, with on-the-job training or apprenticeships. 'Temporary' backpacker workers are employed in industries such as fruit-picking where that work was once available to low-skilled native workers or university students on summer vacation.
An equivalent process has occurred in the United Kingdom as documented by Tony Gosling in Labour's surrender monkeys dare not criticize Britain's conscript economy of 16 August 2013 in Russia Today.
Another effect of high immigration, welcomed by by landlords and property speculators, is to ensure a scarcity of housing stock, thus driving up the prices that can be demanded of tenants and home-buyers.
#fn3465_4" id="fn3465_4">4. #txtSubj4">↑ how this was dealt with in the Federal Labor Parliamentary Caucus, would be very interesting to know, as much of Bob Carr's most explicit and determined encouragement of U.S. military aggression against Syria followed Anthony Albanese's speech.
Perhaps Bob Carr's sudden resignation from the Senate is not such a mystery given the failure of President Obama, John Kerry, himself, Kevin Rudd and their international allies to win international diplomatic support for their war plans.
Sadly, Kevin Rudd has not resigned from Parliament and it can't be completely ruled out that he will again attempt to contest the national leadership. However, Bob Carr has vanished completely from public view. Nothing more has been posted to his web-site Thoughtlines with Bob Carr since 2 Sep 2013.