Gillard facing revolts over Australia’s treatment of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange

Saturday, December 11, 2010

MELBOURNE - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is facing a revolt from several MPs in her left-wing parliamentary faction, who are enraged at the treatment of Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblower website ‘Wikileaks’ that is releasing over 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

According to the Australian, a large number of MPs have expressed grave concerns at the language the Prime Minister and ministers are using in relation to Assange.

Laurie Ferguson, an Australian Labor Party member, said that the government had overreacted to the WikiLeaks release of secret U.S. documents.

He said the information that had been released was crucial to democracy and exposing the truth.

“It hasn’t been borne out that people have been endangered by this information,” Ferguson said.

“On the other side of the ledger, I think it is important that the world is informed on how intense the Saudis are about Iran’s nuclear program and, for instance, that some members of the federal Labor Party caucus are so heavily engaged in briefing another nation,” he added.

Fremantle Labor MP Melissa Parke said that the Swedish rape charges against Assange were unusual and that he should not be treated as a criminal.

“I am concerned about the statements in the U.S. that Julian Assange or his family should be subjected to physical violence, and I strongly condemn them,” Parke said.

“The charges from Sweden sound highly unusual on the basis of the information available, and I expect the British courts to take a long hard look at that before any decision on extradition is made.”

“As to the actions of WikiLeaks and whether they have broken any laws, the fact is we don’t know. I think it is therefore wrong for anyone to suggest Julian Assange is a criminal,” she added. (ANI)

Filed under: Politics

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