On the 9th November 2020, Senator Which-Wilson tweeted
Also see related article on the Senator Surfer’s web site
The motion reads:
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that Julian Assange:
(i) is an Australian citizen,
(ii) is a father, son and partner, and
(iii) won the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution
(b) acknowledges that during the recent extradition trial,
the court heard evidence about:
(i) the enormous harm revealed by Wikileaks of war crimes,
crimes against humanity and corruption,
(ii) the alleged spying operation conducted against Julian Assange
by UC Global on behalf of United States (US) intelligence agencies,
(iii) the alleged seizure of legally privileged material from the
Ecuadorian Embassy by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
(iv) alleged plans to poison and kidnap Julian Assange, and
(v) the devastating health consequences that Julian Assange is
currently facing; and
(c) further acknowledges that:
(i) hundreds of protests and vigils happened all over the world in
support of Julian Assange during the extradition trial,
(ii) over 160 world leaders – current and former presidents,
prime ministers and officials – have called for the release of
(iii) a dozen councils have passed resolutions across Australia
calling on the Australian Government to act, and
(iv) Judge Vanessa Baraitser agreed to delay the decision of the
extradition trial until after the US election and is due to deliver
the verdict on 4 January 2021.
On the 10th November Oscar Grenfell commented
On Monday, the Australian Senate passed a motion “noting” the plight of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who is imprisoned in Britain and faces extradition to the United States for his exposure of American imperialism’s war crimes, global diplomatic intrigues and human rights violations.
The motion was the first to be passed in either house of the federal parliament that is in any way supportive of Assange, since the British police illegally arrested him in April 2019. It is one of only a handful of times the WikiLeaks founder has been mentioned in parliament following last month’s conclusion of the final British show trial hearings for his extradition on unprecedented US espionage charges, on which he could be jailed for life.
The impetus for the motion was undoubtedly concern over popular hostility toward the complicity of the parliamentary establishment in the railroading of an Australian journalist and publisher.
Over 150 legal experts and lawyers’ associations around the world condemned the British court proceedings as a legal travesty. A group of 161 prominent international political figures, including 13 former national presidents, similarly denounced the hearings as a sham and demanded Assange’s immediate freedom.
The Australian government and the Labor Party opposition, aided by the corporate media, however, maintained a stony silence throughout the trial. This was in line with the support given by the entire political establishment for escalating US militarism and its corollary—efforts to quash anti-war opposition, epitomised by the campaign to destroy Assange.
With the verdict over Assange’s extradition due on January 4, the Australian ruling elite is well aware that the widespread latent public support for the WikiLeaks founder, which they have sought to suppress, will again come to the surface.
The motion’s function was to put on record the “concerns” of some parliamentary parties, without committing them to anything. The perfunctory character of such gestures is underscored by the fact that not a single corporate media outlet, including the publicly-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reported the motion. Nor does it appear that any of those who passed it have gone to any great lengths to publicise the motion.
The resolution was moved by Greens Senators Peter Whish-Wilson, Sarah Hanson-Young and Janet Rice. The motion passed with the support of Labor Party senators and some crossbenchers. Those who voted against were members of the Liberal-National Coalition government and the right-wing populist Jacqui Lambie.
The text of the motion can be described only as ambivalent, tepid and mealy-mouthed. Its form is to state a series of incontestable facts, without commenting on their significance or putting forward any clear political position.
The motion begins by “noting” that Assange is an Australian citizen, that he has a family and that he won a 2011 Walkley Award for outstanding contributions to journalism, all of which can be discovered by looking at his Wikipedia entry.
The second section “acknowledges that during the recent extradition trial, the court heard evidence about” WikiLeaks’ exposure of war crimes and human rights abuses, along with
(ii) the alleged spying operation conducted against Julian Assange by UC Global on behalf of United States (US) intelligence agencies, (iii) the alleged seizure of legally privileged material from the Ecuadorian Embassy by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (iv) alleged plans to poison and kidnap Julian Assange, and (v) the devastating health consequences that Julian Assange is currently facing.
The final section “acknowledges” that there have been demands from local councils for the Australian government to intervene in defence of Assange, that a number of “world leaders” have called for his freedom, and that protests have been held in support of the WikiLeaks founder.
The motion abruptly concludes by noting that a British court will rule on Assange’s extradition next January. Anyone looking for an indication of what the senators themselves are planning to do will be disappointed.
Significantly, the motion was amended between the time that it was put on notice on Sunday night, and passed on Monday. The change was to place the word “alleged” before each of the references to violations of Assange’s rights by the US government and intelligence agencies.
The purpose of these amendments was to prevent any direct condemnation of the crimes of the American state against Assange, or any suggestion that the senators were preempting the decision of the British courts.
Labor, like the Coalition government, has insisted that it has “full confidence” in the British and US legal processes, despite the fact that the attempt to extradite Assange and to prosecute him for publishing activities violates international laws and domestic legislation in both the UK and US.
See original commentary in the World Socialist Web Site