The WikiLeaks Party has now accumulated the required 500 dues-paying members that it needs for official registration and has expanded into two more Australian states.
This means that at least three Australian states are now able to vote for WikiLeaks Party candidates in the upcoming elections in September. The states involved are Victoria, where Assange himself hopes to be elected senator, together with New South Wales and Western Australia.
Julian Assange's campaign director, Greg Barns, has told the media that the WikiLeak's founder's running mate will be announced soon. He further said that the name of a candidate will be announced who will take Assange's seat, in case he is unable to do so.
Assange is still currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he applied for, and received, political asylum in that country to avoid extradition to Sweden on alleged sexual assault charges. The fear being that should he be sent to Stockholm, he would then be sent on further to the USA on espionage charges for embarrassing diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks Party is growing fast, as the announcement was first made in January, the party was incorporated in Australia in February, followed by the membership announcement in late March, and has now accumulated the necessary dues-paying members it needs to be officially registered with the Australian Electoral Commission.
Supporters of Assange are hoping that should he win a seat in the Australian parliament, this might give him a safe ticket back home.
“I think that would be incumbent on the Australian government to exercise diplomatic and political capital that it has got with Stockholm, with London and with Washington to ensure that Julian Assange can rightfully return home and take his place in the senate,” his campaign manager, Greg Barns told RT.
Barns told AFP that the WikiLeaks Party “certainly think we’re in the mix to win a Senate seat in each of the three states” it presently has plans to run in, but said that Assange’s return to Australia, if victorious, will be a matter for Canberra.
“It would be up to the government to secure the opportunity for Mr. Assange to come back to Australia,” Barns told the media.
But he added: “It would be internationally embarrassing for the voters of Victoria not to be able to have in the Senate the person for whom they voted on September 14.”
However, Barns stressed that getting legal protection is not Assange's only motivation and insists that his political activity is to pursue the policy of transparency that WikiLeaks has always advocated.
"If that were the case he would simply put his name down for the Senate, run in the ungrouped category and hope to get elected. This is actually a much broader movement," he said.
AFP quoted John Shipton, Assange's father and also chairman of the WikiLeaks Party as saying, "This is the political manifestation of an event that's been unfolding for 10 years."
"In this way, transparency can have the arm of accountability with some political authority and power behind it," Shipton added.
Assange's campaign director has said that to be elected, he must gather 15% of the vote, and apparently Assange is already polling at around 25-27%.
Assange himself has vowed to be a "libertarian" and also a "fierce defender of free media" should he be elected to the 76-seat Australian Senate.
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