This morning the Co-Chairs of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, George Christensen MP and Andrew Wilkie MP, met with Michael Goldman, Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Canberra. Mr Wilkie and Mr Christensen were joined by Julian Hill MP, a fellow member of the Parliamentary Group.
The delegation raised numerous issues with Mr Goldman, including the increasing cross-party and public support for the US extradition of Mr Assange from the UK to be dropped, and for him to be allowed to return to Australia. Also discussed was the risk of reputational damage to the US over this matter and the inconsistency that WikiLeaks source, Chelsea Manning, had her sentence commuted while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is still being pursued. Mr Goldman gave the delegation a good hearing and promised to convey its concerns to Washington.
“It was heartening that Mr Goldman agreed to the meeting and gave us a fair hearing,” Mr Wilkie said. “Hopefully our representations this morning impressed upon him the broad concern in Australia, and indeed right around the world, at the shocking injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. The US’s pursuit of Mr Assange is obviously not in the public interest and must be dropped.”
“I would like to thank the US Charge d’Affaires for facilitating the request for a meeting for representatives of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group,” Mr Christensen said.
“The point of the meeting was to express our support for Julian Assange and his right to publish without being pursued through courts and locked up, and to encourage the US to cease its ongoing legal actions against Mr Assange.”
Mr Hill said he believed the delegation had received a fair hearing. “This is a matter of principle,” Mr Hill said. “You don’t have to like or agree with Julian Assange, but he deserves fair treatment like any other Australian. The US should do the decent, humane thing and drop the prosecution, accepting the UK court’s decision that Mr Assange is unwell and should not be extradited.”