WikiLeaks Party registered in Australia

WikiLeaks Party registered in Australia

Summary: As Australia nears the upcoming federal election, WikiLeaks has been officially registered as a political party.

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Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has been officially registered as a political party in Australia ahead of founder and editor Julian Assange's run for the Senate later this year.

wikileaks-assange
(Image: WikiLeaks)

The party's registration was put up on the Australian Electoral Commission's website today. In order to be registered as a political party, it must have at least 500 members who are on the electoral roll and are not members of any other political party.

The party was formed when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced his intention to run for the Senate in Australia, despite currently residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been for over a year after the UK sought to extradite him to face questioning in relation to allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

Assange will run for the Senate in Victoria, but the party has already said it will field Senate candidates in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia.

In a similar move to legislation already before the parliament from the Greens, the party has pledged to bring before parliament amendments to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, so that all agency requests for telecommunications metadata from ISPs would require a warrant.

Should Assange get just over 14 percent of the vote and secure a Senate spot, he would be the second person to be elected to an Australian parliament while living in London, after Earl Grey in 1848. Assange would assume the position from July 1, 2014, but if he has not returned to Australia by that date, it is unclear how he would take on the Senate role, short of him resigning and the party finding a replacement to take the Senate seat.

Greens communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam, who has been a staunch defender of WikiLeaks and Assange, is up for re-election at the upcoming federal election. While the WikiLeaks Party does have the potential to lure votes away from the Greens, Ludlam is not concerned about the impact the party would have on the votes for the Greens.

"I think that's the least interesting aspect of this whole thing. Crossbenchers in Victoria and all over the place get elected all the time," he told the ABC last month. "The Greens have got a 20-year track record right across the board, so I don't think WikiLeaks is a threat."

This federal election will see a number of new parties seeking a spot in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Pirate Party Australia — a party centred around freedom of speech, information, and for privacy protection — will field a number of Senate candidates, while Independent MP Bob Katter will also have Katter's Australia Party candidates, and mining magnate Clive Palmer will have his own party, Palmer's United Party, running candidates in the election.

Topics: Privacy, Government, Government AU, Security

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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27 comments
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  • Wow I don't envy the parlimentary system of government.

    Its like a jar of mixed nuts some jars have more of one type nuts then the others.
    ammohunt
    • Such is the nature of proportional representation...

      ...not really parliamentary government (you can have exactly the same thing with a presidential system).

      The Australian system is actually a decent compromise in that there are twelve Senators elected from each state (usually 6 at a time) by the single transferable vote system of PR, and one Representative from each constituency also elected by STV (effectively majority vote).

      This gives small party and independent candidates a reasonable opportunity to win election to Parliament without the massive fragmentation we see in countries like Israel or the Netherlands (where MPs are elected at large on a list system), and still allowing people to vote for individual candidates instead of parties.
      John L. Ries
      • And...

        ...as we have demonstrated in the U.S. any number of times, plurality voting and a two party system do not guarantee that we won't elect a fair number of nutcases.
        John L. Ries
        • By nutcases

          I assume you are referring to the majority of the Republican Party members and a fair proportion of the Dems, as opposed to Mr Assange who currently is well over the necessary figures for election in most Australian polls... we can smell the difference between a committed activist and a professional lobbyist for US big business from a long way off...
          btone-c5d11
    • To add to what John says...

      the US also utilises the rather bizarre electoral college system (applied inconsistently to each state, and which can potentially be used to deliberately overthrow the popular vote in each state), has different voting procedures from state to state, and uses such systems as electronic voting booths that are often replete with issues (for example the wrong candidate coming up when you press a button) or punch cards with hanging chads when a simple pen to paper would do, has voters being turned away from polling stations in neighbourhoods with large black populations as recently as the last presidential election, etc.
      hmmm,
      • I'm in favor of reforming the Electoral College, not abolishing it

        But as it's stands, it's Exhibit One in the case against plurality voting.

        And yes we do have different voting procedures in every state (though Congress has authority to regulate Congressional elections and exercises it from time to time). Happy federalism! I don't think a country as large and diverse as the U.S.A (or Australia for that matter) can be governed democratically except as a federation.
        John L. Ries
        • Certainly a perfect democratic system will never exist.

          That's a given considering that even in a system where everyone's input is equal, the dictatorship of a majority is not necessarily a good thing, given that people are not necessarily the rational, self-interested people acting on perfect information that economic theory makes them out to be.
          hmmm,
          • If you say so...

            Which would be reason number 1 why libertards need to be shot.
            Funkmonkey
          • So how may people are you proposing to shoot?

            And how does one reconcile such sentiments with a reasonable notion of what constitutes a free society?
            John L. Ries
  • Assange is highly unlikely to be seated...

    ...even if he wins election, as he's likely to spend another six years at least holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London; unless, of course, he decides to fight whatever charges are pressed against him in Sweden and wins aquittal (something he seems to have no interest in doing).

    Besides, I'm under the impression he's wanted in Australia as well.
    John L. Ries
    • Unless things are being kept secret...

      there are no charges officially laid against Assange in either Australia or Sweden. The Swedes have a warrant to take him into custody for questioning. Assange refuses to fly back to Sweden given the bizarre circumstances behind the warrant, but has otherwise offered to make himself available for questioning. Thus far the Swedes have refused his offers to interview him by other means even when the prosecutors seeking to uphold the warrant were in the same country as him for the extradition hearing. Maybe it is a bit paranoid of him to refuse to face the Swedish courts, thinking it is a ploy to extradite him to the US, but I can't blame him for having suspicions given the unusual behaviour of the Swedes. The original chief prosecutor of the case dropped the investigation on the basis that the original statements of the complainants did not set out any grounds for rape (for example, they admitted to engaging in consensual sex). A new chief prosecutor reopened the case only after the complainants' statement were grossly altered (for example a condom that had split had suddenly become no condom at all). It also wouldn't help his perception of his situation that many politicians have called for his assassination, or that the British courts upheld the warrant on flimsy grounds, even despite the fact that what the Swedes constitute as "rape" in this case likely does not meet the British definitions for "rape". Most countries will not extradite someone unless they have an analogous crime in their own books. That helps avoid situations where, e.g., a country requests extradition of someone for engaging in homosexual acts (yes, that's an extreme example, but that's where arguments re slippery slopes come in, no pun intended).
      hmmm,
      • PPPS (yes, I promise this is my last post-script)

        Also probably of note to Assange: the British are spending millions of pounds to maintain guards outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London so they can arrest him on site and turn him over if he tries to leave. That's millions of pounds per year supposedly just to turn over the uncharged suspect of an extremely minor sexual assault (no violence, etc) for questioning. That would seem an extremely disproportionate use of resources if that were their sole motive, vs taking action against an enemy of state. But, yeah, this last point reinforces what you say re the unliklihood he'll actually serve in Senate.
        hmmm,
    • PS

      I think the situation is somewhat analogous to the 6 Australians who don't want to be extradited to Peru for murder charges because they are afraid they will be facing a kangaroo court and trumped up charges under public pressure. When the charges themselves are so utterly fishy, one cannot blame someone for being afraid of extradition. The difference here is that the 6 have the support of the Australian government (not to mention that it is South Americans vs blonde blue-eyed Swedes they are resisting). It also helps that the 6 haven't politically embarrassed Australia and its allies, and are not poster children for the political "left".
      hmmm,
      • Unfortunately...

        ...defendants are sometimes railroaded here in the USA, but it's mostly obscure people who can't afford decent legal representation.
        John L. Ries
        • Now let's see if ZDNet will let me finish this

          Assange is a public figure, has many sympathizers, and would almost certainly have a competent lawyer (whether he wanted one or not) should he be extradited to the US. That and his jury trial would be covered all over the world (usually a good way to make sure that judges and prosecutors behave themselves). Sending him to Guantanamo, or holding him indefinitely in the States without trial might be legally possible, but it would be political suicide.

          Our legal system has its problems, but we're not Peru.
          John L. Ries
          • I get your subject line now

            I just tried posting a response, for some strange reason their system thinks it is spam. I've never received spam resembling anything I tried posting. I'll see if I can get around that. In the meantime please accept my assurance that it was a brilliant, expressing friendly disagreement, complete with examples of recent insanities amongst the citizenry and those in charge of the US.
            hmmm,
          • I'm not sure that'd protect him.

            M any U S c itizens u ncritically f ell f or t he I raq w ar a nd s upposed t ies b etween S addam a nd n ine-eleven. T here w as g reat v ocal o pposition a gainst t he w ar, a nd it w as a lready p roving d isastrous by B ush's s econd t erm, and y et he w as re-elected. T he U S is a c ountry w here o nly a s mall p ercentage of the p opulation t urns o ut to v ote, and m uch v oting is d riven by o rganisations l ike the N RA and the M oral M ajority, etc. P ost n ine-eleven, j ust h aving p ublic o fficials s tating t hat A ssange a ided A l Q aeda is e nough for m any A mericans to i gnore any i nfringements u pon his r ights. A nyone who is s warthy who d oesn't p ersonally a pologise for n ine-eleven e very y ear f aces the p rospect of h aving o thers d eclare t hem t errorists (e ven if t hey are S ikhs or H indu). The U S is the l and of the T ea P arty and C hristian Z ionism (p eople who - no k idding - a ctually s upport I srael b ecause t hey hope t hat it w ill h elp b ring a bout A rmageddon s ooner, and a llow t hem to be c alled up in the R apture as g ood G od f earing C hristians). In t his b ackground, A ssange is s een as a f igure of the ex treme l eft (and m any who s upport his i deas e ven f ind him a rrogant). In c ontrast, the U S is the l and w here F ox N ews is f inancially v iable and t aken s eriously.
            I l ove the US and m ost of its p eople, but it is a p lace of e xtreme c ontrasts and d ysfunction, and t hose in p ower k now how to t ake a dvantage of t hat d ysfunction.
            hmmm,
          • Wow

            that worked. Add in annoying spacing and it is no longer spam. And here I thought that was more characteristic of spam.
            hmmm,
          • Oh, and here's one specific example

            The large majority of the US population supported the recent gun control legislation and yet due to the pressures of a vocal minority, it got defeated by politicians who (probably rightly) feared they'd never get elected again.
            hmmm,
          • Not to mention

            that many US citizens are responding to Snowden's revelations by saying, well, in order to fight terrorism maybe such unconstitutional measures are necessary, so go ahead and record my calls.
            hmmm,