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Julian Assange Launches WikiLeaks Party in Australia

Julian Assange Launches WikiLeaks Party in Australia
Fri, 7/26/2013 - by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
This article originally appeared on Mashable

Julian Assange is officially taking his fight for transparency from the Internet to the Australian Senate.

The founder of WikiLeaks formally announced the launch of the WikiLeaks Party on Thursday, along with his candidacy and that of six other members of his young party. They will run for Senate seats in Australia's election, which is due before Nov. 30.

"WikiLeaks Party's core values of transparency, accountability and justice are the template against which we will examine any important issues for Australians," Assange wrote in an op-ed published by The Australian.

"We will not accept legislation or government policy that is based on inaccurate, poorly disclosed or inadequate information. In this way our positions will always reflect fairness, good government policy and practice, and protecting the interests of all Australians."

Assange is running for a Senate seat in the state of Victoria and regardless of his chances of winning, he may face eligibility issues in his campaign for senator, as Mashable reported in December. He's also still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy of London, with British police ready to arrest him and extradite him to Sweden for questioning in relation to a sexual crimes investigation.

If elected, Assange would have to take his seat on July 1, 2014. If he were prevented from taking his seat, which requires him to be physically present in Australia, another member of his party might be able to take his place, a possibility confirmed to the Associated Press by WikiLeaks Party national council member Sam Castro.

Castro added that if Assange is elected, Australia should take measures to allow for his access into the country.

"What would that mean if the Australian government did nothing to assure the safe passage of an elected representative who has been granted asylum?" she asked.

In an interview with The New York Times, Assange didn't address his eligibility issues, but said he's not worried about running a party long-distance.

"It’s not unlike running the WikiLeaks organization,” Assange said. "We have people on every continent. We have to deal with over a dozen legal cases at once."

According to Assange, his party, just like the WikiLeaks organization, will be founded on the values of transparency and accountability. In fact, Assange wants to get investigative journalists into the Senate to hold "banks and government and intelligence agencies to account," he told the Times.

Over the last several weeks, Assange and WikiLeaks reappeared in the media after helping NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdenleave Hong Kong and providing him with legal assistance regarding his asylum requests.

Recent polls indicate his chances of winning may be bigger than many expected when he announced his political aspirations last year. Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: Assange will make his voice heard.

"Canberra needs to be a place of light, not a place of darkness," he said via Skype at the WikiLeaks Party launch, held at a library in suburban Melbourne.

 
 
 
 

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