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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has called on the Prime Minister to use his Washington trip to negotiate the release of Australian journalist Julian Assange with his new partners in the AUKUS alliance.

“Mr Assange should be at home with his young family, watching his two little boys grow up,” Mr Wilkie said. “But instead he’s languishing in one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious prisons after recently losing a British High Court battle to stop the United States Government from expanding its appeal against an earlier refusal to allow his extradition. A full appeal hearing is expected next month.

“All the while Australia has sat idly by and watched this heinous case play out. If the US succeeds in extraditing Mr Assange to face espionage charges then he faces life, and very possibly death, behind bars. Why punish someone who has only ever acted in the public interest?

“It’s high time Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted to end this circus and here is the perfect opportunity. He should encourage his new partners in the AUKUS alliance to end their vengeful pursuit of the WikiLeaks founder and let him walk free.

“Mr Morrison was happy to tell anyone who’d listen that his US trip was all about ‘keeping Australians safe’. This mantra must extend to Mr Assange, an Australian citizen who’s clearly in great peril overseas.”