Letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in relation to Julian Assange

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull


As you know, Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, has now spent 5 years in the United Kingdom effectively detained without charge. You probably also know that as recently as October this year the UK Government declined to give him any assurance of safe passage out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to seek medical treatment.

In an impassioned speech titled ‘Reflections on WikiLeaks, Spycatcher and Freedom of the Press’, you delivered at Sydney University Law School in 2011 you said:

“Prime Minister Julia Gillard described (Assange) as someone who had broken the law by publishing the contents of confidential US State Department cables.”

“These remarks by the Prime Minister which were echoed by her Attorney General were particularly regrettable, not simply because she was so obviously in error from a legal point of view, but whatever one may think of Assange he is an Australian citizen.”

“More importantly perhaps, at the time he was being described as breaking the law by Ms Gillard, prominent American politicians and journalists were describing him as a terrorist and in some cases calling for him to be assassinated.”

“While Assange is no doubt quite safe from assassination, when an Australian citizen is threatened in this way, an Australian Prime Minister should respond.”

On September 22 of the same year you delivered a letter from Assange’s British lawyer, Gareth Peirce, to the former Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd which called for the need for urgent contact between the Australian government and the Swedish government, between the Australian government and the US government, and between the Australian government and the UK government.

Would you please let me know what your position is now in relation to Mr Assange’s case and in particular to ensuring the protection of his rights as an Australian citizen.  Would you please also confirm what, if anything, you have done both before and since you became Prime Minister  to address the concerns raised in Ms Peirce’s letter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kellie Tranter


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