Media Release: Delegation of Australian Members of Parliament will depart for Washington DC

On the 14th March 2023, The Australian Assange Campaign issued this media release

The delegation of Australian politicians will depart for Washington DC on 19 September, armed with a letter signed by 63 parliamentary colleagues across the political spectrum requesting that the United States’ prosecution and incarceration of Australian publisher Julian Assange end immediately.
The Australian Delegation to Secure the Release of Julian Assange is made up of representatives of the left, centre and right-wing members of the Australian Parliament. They include former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce, Tony Zappia MP (Labor), Dr Monique Ryan MP (Independent), Senator Alex Antic (Liberal) and Senators Peter Whish-Wilson and David Shoebridge (Greens).
The time to act to save Julian is now,” says Gabriel Shipton, brother of Julian Assange.
“We have faith that the Group’s message will be heard in Washington DC and officials will abandon attempts to extradite Julian to the United States in relation to unprecedented allegations of espionage. Julian’s physical and mental health continue to deteriorate each minute he spends in prison. As he faces his last chance appeal in the UK courts, the Delegation seeks to pave the way for a political solution prior to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the US on the 23rd (to 28th) October to meet with President Joe Biden.” 

Julian Assange has spent over 13 years in various forms of arbitrary detention after exposing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan published on his WikiLeaks website back in 2010. It included the confronting ‘Collateral Murder’ video, which shocked the world, showing a US Military Apache Helicopter opening fire on people in streets of Baghdad and killing over a dozen including two Reuters news staff. Julian and WikiLeaks have received over 30 international journalism awards for this work including an Australian Walkley Award. Their exclusive exposés were also republished and reported about in every major media outlet around the world, yet no other publisher has been charged or pursued by the United States.
Julian has been held in solitary confinement for the past four-and-a-half years in London’s high-security HM Belmarsh Prison, after being forcibly removed by local police from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had previously sought asylum for 7 years.
Advisor to the Assange Campaign, Greg Barns SC says: “While Australia is not a party to the extradition proceedings it can intervene in this case in the same way it has done, over many years, in other cases where Australians have been subject to legal proceedings in other countries. It can raise the case at the political and diplomatic level in order to ensure that Julian is able to be reunited with his family and not continue to face the threat of extradition.”
Gabriel Shipton questions why our closest political ally is keeping an Australian publisher locked up when the US whistle blower has been free since 2017.
“In these cynical times this cross-party co-operation has captured the imaginations of Australians. It boils downs to fairness. Is Julian getting a fair-go? Australians don’t think so, and they are fed up.” says Mr Shipton.
The Australian delegation will meet with members of US Congress and Senate, the US State Department and Department of Justice as well as key think-tanks and NGOs including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.
The Australian Delegation to Secure the Release of Julian Assange has been funded by donations from generous supporters of the Assange Campaign.

The Supporting Letter

The letter will be taken to Washington DC and presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP. This call follows the bipartisan position expressed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition that the Julian Assange matter has gone on for too long, and responds to the cross-parliamentary view on this matter.

 “The continuing incarceration and extradition attempt of Julian Assange is unjust and strikes at the very heart of media freedom, as his extradition would set a frightening precedent for all journalists that they too are at risk of being locked up, just for doing their job. The United States must listen to the calls of the Australian community and abandon the extradition proceedings. It’s well and truly time for this matter to end and for Julian to be allowed to return home.” – Andrew Wilkie MP. 

“As a co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends group I know how the call to bring Julian Assange home unites so many of us across the Australian Parliament. Together we will bring a powerful collaborative cross-party approach to Washington as a demonstration to US decision makers of the comprehensive political support behind the Assange campaign.” – Senator David Shoebridge. 

“The strong support in the Australian community for the end to the maximum-security detention of Julian Assange is reflected in this call by a significant number of Australian Parliamentarians, which in turn emphasises the bipartisan leadership position reached earlier this year that ‘enough is enough’. There is every reason for this matter to come to a close.” – Josh Wilson MP. 

“As I have said for some time, I have ongoing concerns about the treatment Julian Assange has endured over the past decade and this must come to an end. He is an Australian citizen who has endured inhumane conditions and has suffered significant mental and physical challenges as a result of his ongoing incarceration due to the lengthy legal battle.” – Bridget Archer MP.

Sample News Coverage
ABC News
Brother of Julian Assange says delegation an historical event
Barnaby Joyce on the Julian Assange parliamentary delegation The Guardian
The Gurdian
Australian MPs to lobby US to drop Julian Assange prosecution or risk ‘very dangerous’ precedent for Russia and China
Julian Assange: more than 60 Australian MPs urge US to let WikiLeaks founder walk free
Fox News
Delegation of Australian lawmakers will visit US to push for Julian Assange’s release: ‘Powerful message’
The Conversation
View from The Hill: Australia’s bid for Julian Assange’s freedom presents formidable problems for Joe Biden
The Irish Times
Delegation of Australian politicians to pressure US to end pursuit of Julian Assange
And many many more . . .

News Conference – US Department of Justice Building, Washington DC, 20th Sept at 5pm EST