Politics

MPs back quiet diplomacy in Assange case



Josh Wilson, who holds the West Australian seat of Fremantle, said there were important issues of free speech and free press at play.

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“There’s no purpose or justice served by Julian Assange being subject to these proceedings any longer,” he said.

He was heartened by a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, which said in part the government was clear in its view the case “has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close”.

The member for Macquarie in Sydney’s Hawkesbury region, Susan Templeman, who has also campaigned for Assange’s return, said the government had put that view to the US and UK “and will continue to do so in a diplomatic and appropriate way”.

“As a former journalist reporting in the Canberra press gallery and overseas in the 1980s, this for me is much less about one individual; it’s more about principles, journalistic freedoms and human rights,” she said.

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Adelaide MP Steve Georganas said the “quiet diplomacy” taking place was the best approach.

The parliamentary group would continue to advocate for justice for Assange, Georganas said.

“He is an Australian citizen and we should be doing all we can to make sure he has every bit of legal assistance et cetera and that the quiet diplomacy should be taking place to make sure he has the right justice and that this horrible story comes to an end,” he said.

Albanese was listed as a supporter, but not a formal member, of the Bring Julian Assange Home group in the previous parliament

Assange’s wife Stella expects to see her husband in Belmarsh Prison on Tuesday London time for the first time since the extradition approval. She is worried about his deteriorating health and said his family would continue to push the Australian government to keep up its efforts.

“Really, the only end result is his freedom,” she told Radio National. “I’m feeling definitely that there’s a shift. It feels like we’ve been running a marathon for a long time … but now it feels like we have many people running alongside us and we might see the finish line.”

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.



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