I’ve called this film, Lest we Regret, because I’m convinced that if Julian Assange dies in prison or is extradited to the US, Australia will feel massive regret and guilt that his own country did so little to save him. I address the film to MPs of all parties and to all Australians.
Our image of ourselves as a fair and caring country, is already damaged and that many already regret. But Assange is in a different category because abandoning him, is tantamount to abandoning our commitment to the free flow of information which WikiLeaks has so effectively enabled. Millions of documents have been released and not one has proved to be fake news. It’s an amazing achievement as is the fact that no one has been hurt by these releases, only the powerful massively embarrassed.
I’ve tried to make the film mainstream. I come in through the curious connection to a time in 1966 when Queen Elizabeth felt great remorse for her failure to respond to a tragedy in Wales. I’m figuring that many of the MPs who we need to see join the excellent initiative of Andrew Wilkie, are Coalition members who, hopefully, will be intrigued by my approach.
I then go on to counter the conventional idea that Assange is somehow disreputable. I take my audience to his most famous release, the collateral murder video from 2010, and show that the way he handled that horrific material was so sincere, so admirable, so unlike the information anarchist he’s been painted to be, that hopefully a new appraisal of him emerges in the minds of the viewer. Our National regret will be even more painful when the Australian public realises what a hero they have abandoned. Regret is a very serious business. We hear of people in war who have done terrible things, such as we see in the collateral murder video, and are haunted for the rest of their lives. Australia will be haunted to its core if it abandons Julian Assange to an unjust fate.