On 28th November 2023, Barnaby Joyce Nationals MP for New England, addressed Australian Parliament on the dangers of the extraterritorial precedent of the extradition of Julian Assange
Mr JOYCE (New England) (16:23):
I would like to follow on from the member for Makin and also acknowledge Gabriel Shipton, who’s here today. There are very few things that draw together people from both sides of the political fence, whether it’s the Greens; Alex Antic; Tony Zappia—we’ve known each other for a long time and worked together—the Nationals; the Labor Party; the Liberal Party; the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese; or Peter Dutton, but this issue has done that. It’s time that this issue is resolved and brought to a conclusion. I acknowledge that Gabriel Shipton is Julian Assange’s brother, but I’m not here to give warrant to Mr Assange did—not for one second. But I am saying that extraterritoriality is an incredibly dangerous precedent. I’ll say, for the Australian people, that—and not to go through the details, which the member for Makin has done—Julian Assange was not a US citizen.
Julian Assange did not commit a crime in Australia. In fact, he got a Walkley Award for it. Julian Assange was never in the US when any offence that the US has nominated was committed.
So we are sending a person to a third country on the behest of a third country because of their domestic laws. Once you start agreeing to do that, it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese government says, ‘We’ve got a few people in Australia we want you to send to China.’ If someone offends a religion in another part of the world, they’ll say, ‘You should send those people to us as well.’ How are you going to argue against that when you have given credibility to what is happening here? For the US, how are they going to justify their position when they are part and parcel of this? I’ve said before that Australia has been a good neighbour to the US, and, with Mr Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who most definitely committed offences in Australia—most definitely—we haven’t called for their extradition back to Australia. If we did, they would go to jail for quite a while.
So I ask something of those in the United States. I know the Prime Minister of Australia has now been to the US. I’m not going to delve into what discussions the Prime Minister may or may not have had, but I want to reinforce to the people of the United States and the government of the United States our great respect for their nation but our displeasure that this issue continues on. It needs to be resolved. This carbuncle in the relationship needs to be removed. We have bigger fish to fry. There are bigger issues out there for us to deal with. This issue needs to be put aside.
I want to also acknowledge the great work done by the delegation with Tony Zappia, Alex Antic, Peter Whish-Wilson, Monique Ryan and David Shoebridge—I’m forgetting some more. I thank them for their work. The support will continue on.
Refer original coverage in Hansard
Recent articles covering Mr Joyce’s support for Julian :
Australian Financial Review