Skip to main content

“Millions of people around the world, and especially in Australia, will be thrilled that Julian Assange has finalised a plea deal with the United States Department of Justice and is on his way home,” Independent Member for Clark Andrew Wilkie said.

“Mr Assange should never have been charged, and his release from prison and return home is way beyond time. After all, he is an Australian citizen, publisher and journalist who did nothing more than release information about egregious US misconduct, including war crimes, and for that he always should have been applauded, not punished.

“The video evidence in particular of a US Army attack helicopter murdering Iraq civilians including journalists, published by WikiLeaks, will forever be known as one of the most significant media releases ever.

“There must never be a repeat of this shocking episode. Whistleblowers and media freedom are essential ingredients of any healthy democracy and attacks on them need to be fiercely resisted. That’s exactly what Mr Assange’s supporters did and I’m immensely proud of them for doing that. Moreover the US’s ridiculous claim to global judicial extraterritoriality must be rejected in future.

“One of the alarming dimensions of this whole horrid saga is that the precedent has now been set for charging and convicting a journalist for simply doing their job. While we expect to see this in authoritarian regimes, for it to have occurred in the United States of all places, with its constitutional protection for freedom of media, should send chills down the spine of journalists everywhere.”

Mr Wilkie first met Julian Assange in Australia in 2004, established the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group and has travelled to London twice to support him. The work of WikiLeaks has resonated strongly with Mr Wilkie on account of his whistleblowing over the fraudulent reasons for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.