Who is running the Australian government these days?
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday mounted a strong defence of Julian Assange’s legal rights.
The WikiLeaks founder is preparing to face court in London early Wednesday morning (AEDT).
Mr Rudd said he was prepared to intervene to have a laptop computer provided for Mr Assange in London’s Wandsworth prison to help the Australian prepare his defence and obtain bail at his appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Following suggestions by Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland that Mr Assange may have his Australian passport cancelled, Mr Rudd said any such decision was his as Foreign Minister. “Under law, I’m responsible for the Passports Act, therefore the decisions concerning the withdrawal or otherwise of passports rests exclusively with the foreign minister based on the advice of the relevant agencies,” Mr Rudd told The Australian in Cairo.
And a woman supposedly of the Left bows to Labor tribalism and sells out her ideological heritage. Has she not heard of freedom of speech? The shame:
A minister in the Gillard government has defended the push to charge Julian Assange for publishing secret US cables on his WikiLeaks website.
Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek told Sky News’ Australian Agenda the leaks were very serious and threatened the workings of international diplomacy and the quality of advice public servants were willing to give.
She broke ranks with some of her factional colleagues in the Labor Left, who told The Weekend Australian the government had overreacted to the leaks and should stop treating Mr Assange like a criminal. Backbencher Laurie Ferguson said the information the 39-year-old Australian had released was crucial to democracy and to exposing the truth.
Ms Plibersek said yesterday that at the heart of the issue was the fact that the documents were classified and had been stolen.
“I don’t think that it’s a terrific thing for world security for people to go stealing classified documents and sticking them on the internet,” she said.
“I think everyone in the Left of the party, the Right of the party and the Australian public would expect that Julian Assange would face the law, as any other Australian citizen would face the law.”
Ms Plibersek said the language used by those calling for Mr Assange to be assassinated and accusing him of being a terrorist was extreme and unwarranted.
“But the Australian government has not said those things. The Australian government has said that this is based on an original criminal act, which is a theft of classified documents,” she said.
“It’s yet to be seen who has stolen those documents, and those are matters best left to the police, both in the United States and here.”
Ms Plibersek said anyone publishing anything had to apply a degree of responsibility.
“If we find that someone, say a businessman in Iran who is pro-American, is strung up by the Iranian government because these documents have been published, do you say that Julian Assange has no responsibility for that?