With the news overnight that Julian Assange has been denied bail, Greens Foreign Affairs spokesperson Senator Janet Rice has called on Prime Minister Morrison to act to ensure his wellbeing, and signalled that she will seek to involve the Australian Senate to act on his behalf.
Senator Rice said:
“I call on Mr Morrison to show some courage and pick up the phone to speak directly to both UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston to ensure Mr Assange’s wellbeing; and to US President-elect Joe Biden to drop the charges against him.
“It is a massive and tragic irony that the judgement has been made to not extradite Mr Assange because of risk of suicide, yet he is still being subject to onoging indefinite detention in the brutal conditions of Belmarsh prison.
“I urge Mr Morrison to heed the calls from Amnesty International who have said the decision to deny Julian Assange’s request for bail has rendered his continued detention ‘arbitrary’.
“If Mr. Assange is still being detained when Parliament resumes next month, I will request that the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) seek an urgent meeting with the incoming US Ambassador to Australia as soon as they arrive on our shores to discuss this case further.
“The US charges against Julian Assange must also be seen in the light of the chaos and insurrection in Washington overnight. It is the same President Trump who has incited his followers with baseless claims of conspiracy and fraud who is going after Assange, a whistleblower who exposed corruption and war crimes.
“Australia needs to speak out against the madness and attacks on democracy that have been the hallmarks of the Trump presidency, and that should include speaking up for the rights of an Australian citizen who should be being treated as a hero not a criminal.
“Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and therefore the responsibility of our government. He has suffered enough. The Australian Government must say ‘enough is enough’ and intervene to ensure his safety,” Senator Rice said.