Julian Assange

17 January 2022

In reference to the situation faced by Mr Julian Assange and, in particular, the extradition proceedings still underway in the United Kingdom.

In light of Mr Assange’s poor mental health and a range of other factors, on 4 January 2021 a British court held that it would be unjust to extradite Mr Assange to the United States. While an appeals court judge has now overturned this decision, Labor believes that it is now time to bring these proceedings to an end.

The UK appeals court ruling does not signal the end of this legal fight, and the case will now be referred back to the lower court, and whatever the result there, will most likely then go to the Supreme Court.

However, Labor believes this has now dragged on for too long and has pressed the Morrison Government to do what it can to encourage the US Government to bring this matter to a close.

It is notable that, almost a decade ago, the Obama administration declined to charge Mr Assange – despite strongly condemning his actions. Prior to leaving office, President Obama also commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who was convicted of leaking secret information to Mr Assange.

While Mr Assange’s circumstances are unique, he has the same rights – and is entitled to receive the same support – as any other Australian overseas.

Labor expects the Australian Government to provide Mr Assange with appropriate consular support while this case continues to be fought through the courts. This support is particularly important for so long as Mr Assange remains in jail.

Labor also continues to hold concerns about Mr Assange’s health.

Long before the court handed down its decision on 4 January last year, Labor had called on the Australian Government to do everything in its power to ensure that Mr Assange received appropriate medical care while his case was being determined.

I will continue to watch closely the situation of Mr Assange.