Assange says his senate chances are good

Last updated 11:32 18/02/2013
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Reuters
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Australians wouldn't stand any moves to boot him out of the Senate should he be elected at the September poll.

Last week he applied to be added to the Victorian electoral roll, although he believed not being enrolled shouldn't bar him from standing as a Senate candidate.

"The Act specifies only that candidates must in principle be qualified to become a voter," he told online news website The Conversation in an interview published on Monday.

He believes his chances of getting elected are good but acknowledges there would still be hurdles ahead should he be successful.

If victorious he would have to take an oath before the governor-general, although he thinks this could be done by video link.

More problematic could be a requirement that he physically take up his Senate seat within two months.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where authorities want to question him over allegations of sex crimes.

He told The Conversation he believed getting elected would put pressure on the British, Swedish and US governments and they would back off for fear of causing a diplomatic row.

If they didn't, he said, "the political costs of the current standoff will be higher still".

He noted the Senate could vote to evict him from his Senate seat should he be unable to be there in person.
"But that would trigger a big political row," he said.

"Australians probably wouldn't swallow it.

"They've learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam."

WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) spokeswoman Sam Castro told AAP a newly formed WikiLeaks party, consisting of a 10-member national council, would be convened this week.

The council would then start collecting members' names and signatures to register the party.

Assange said the political arm would have core principles of civic courage, understanding, truthfulness and the free flow of information.

"The party will combine a small, centralised leadership with maximum grass roots involvement and support," he said.

"By relying on decentralised Wikipedia-style, user-generated structures, it will do without apparatchiks."

He said political parties should have a sense of fun and "put the word 'party' back into politics".

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- AAP

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