A delegation of Australian Members of Parliament spoke out Wednesday evening after meeting with Biden admin officials at the Department of Justice demanding the release of Australian citizen and Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.
The delegation included five different political parties as well as Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Green Party) spoke first, describing that “Australia and the US are the closest of friends and the closest of allies, and of course that kind of relationship should be built on mutual trust and mutual respect.”
“It was a good start that we had a meeting today with the Department of Justice as a cross-party Australian delegation.”
Australian MP Tony Zappia (Labor Party) invoked the Statue of Liberty and explained that “Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, has been effectively deprived of his liberty for the last 11 years.”
“We’re here to speak to the US government and to make it clear that the people of Australia believe that Julian Assange has been punished enough, that his detention should come to an end, that the charges against him should be dropped.”
Australian MP Barnaby Joyce (National Party) said that “We did not come here to pick a fight, we came here to present a case and lobby for an outcome” of freeing Julian Assange.
“After 11 years, enough is enough,” he says.
Australian Senator David Shoebridge (Green Party) called the ongoing detention of Julian Assange “an ongoing irritant in the bilateral relationship” between the United States and Australia, noting that nearly 90% of Australians want him returned home.
Australian Senator Alex Antic (Liberal Party) emphasized that the delegation supporting Julian Assange is “the most broad political alliance” and that 67 members of Parliament signed a letter demanding the release of Julian Assange.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson returned to add that “The extradition of Julian Assange as a foreign journalist conducting activities on foreign soil is unprecedented.”
“This is a very dangerous precedent, a very slippery slope for any democracy to go down.”
“Sometimes it is very hard to be a friend of the United States when the United States is prosecuting an Australian citizen for basically being a journalist” said Australian Senator David Shoebridge.
“We all came here in the spirit of friendship,” he explained. “We didn’t come here to pick a fight. We came here to solve a problem. And that can only be solved by Julian Assange coming home.”