Julian Assange forms political party

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is still hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy, thinks that a wizard way to get attention is to form a political party.

Assange slipped out of the news when it was clear that nothing was really going to happen and it is fairly clear that he is miffed that he is no longer being talked about.

Short of leaving the embassy and facing up to the sex charges levelled at him, Assange appears to have decided that he has a future in politics.

Of course, he can’t leave London’s Ecuadorian embassy because the police will arrest him and cart him off to face his long appointed sex case in Sweden. Instead, he has appointed a high-profile opponent of Britain’s monarchy to run his campaign for a seat in Australia’s upper house of parliament.

Former Australian Republican Movement head and lawyer Greg Barns said he would be campaign director for the WikiLeaks Party, spearheading Assange’s absentee bid for a Senate seat in Australia’s September 14 election.

Even if people voted for him the bid would not provide him with a get out of jail free card.  To win he would need 15 percent of votes in the Victoria state. If he wins he would need to return to Australia to be sworn in and he will not do that while he could be arrested.  The days of the UK exporting its criminals to Australia have passed. 

Barns insisted that it will be a serious campaign as Assange does attract support from across the political spectrum. He said Assange’s party will offer a refreshing change from the Australian government’s culture of secrecy.

His platform will be to champion free speech and break court suppression orders.

It would be a good position for a free speech advocate to be in.  If he wins a Senate seat, he would be covered by Australia’s parliamentary privilege rules, which protect politicians against legal action over comments made in parliament. 

Assange’s party had already secured backing from former Citibank executive Philip Wollen.  He also has found 500 members to fulfil party registration requirements.