24 November 2011
Gillard govt can do more to help Assange: Ludlam
The Australian Government appears to be failing to fully protect WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange from extradition to the United States and should better explain its position, Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
“The Attorney-General, Robert McLelland, has made no comment on the issue in several months and initially pronounced WikiLeaks’ actions illegal and wouldn’t rule out cancelling Mr Assange’s passport,” Senator Ludlam said in Canberra.
Senator Ludlam will put a further question on behalf of Mr Assange to the government during Senate question time today after Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd answered some, but not all, of the questions put by Senator Ludlam more than 30 days ago about the protection of Mr Assange’s citizenship rights.
“Kevin Rudd appears to be doing his job in providing legal and consular support. However, in a troubling move, three of my questions relating to the extradition or rendition of Mr Assange from Sweden to the United States have been referred to the Attorney-General, Mr McLelland. Two were not answered,” Senator Ludlam said.
“I asked whether he has sought assurances that Sweden will not temporarily surrender Assange to the US. Mr Rudd responded that he has sought assurances from Sweden for due process in the case – not what I asked. I asked whether the government has sought clarification as to what crimes the US Grand Jury is investigating. Mr Rudd answered that there has been no ‘formal’ advice, not whether any had been sought.
“The focus must now shift to the Attorney General and the Prime Minister. Will they make representations to prevent the extradition or rendition of Mr Assange to the United States?
“With a final appeal hearing on December 5, Mr Assange could be sent to Sweden to face allegations there but under the temporary surrender mechanism under extradition treaties, could find himself in the United States.
“Will the Australian Government prevent Mr Assange being further extradited from Sweden to the United States for doing what the media have always done which is bring to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret?”
Senator Ludlam will hold a press conference this afternoon in the Senate courtyard.
Protect Aussie journo from US rendition: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/Wikileaks
Director of Media/Senior Media Adviser
Senator Bob Brown | Leader of the Australian Greens