Despite being under virtual house arrest in England and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, Julian Assange plans to compete for a place in Australian Senate, the group reveled today.
WikiLeaks website revealed that its founder plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in next year’s elections, having taken to Twitter Friday.
“We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” read a message.
Assange blamed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s center-left government for not standing up for him against the potential threat of his extradition to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, The Huffington Post writes.
However, Australian police decided that WikiLeaks and Assange have not broken any Australian laws by publishing the U.S. cables, although Gillard has condemned the action as “grossly irresponsible.”
John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, said Assange could run for a seat in Australian Senate in case he remains on the Australian electoral roll despite living overseas for several years. “If he gets on the roll, then he can stand as long as he’s solvent and not in jail and not insane,” the expert said.
Constitutional lawyer George Williams of the University of New South Wales explained that provision of the constitution has never been tested in the courts in the history of the Australian federation.
He added that it probably would not apply to a criminal conviction in a foreign country such as Sweden. “I’m not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted,” Williams said.
According to the law, any adult citizen of Australia can run for the Australian Parliament, but few succeed without being a part of a major political party. Statistics show that today only one of Australia’s 76 senators does not belong to a party.
As a rule, in every Australian election compete candidates who just want to use their campaigns to seek publicity for various political or commercial causes.
“Wanna said the odds are against Assange winning a seat, but that he could receive more than 4% of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile.
At that threshold, candidates can claim more than AUS$2 per vote from the government to offset their campaign expenses. Assange’s bill to the taxpayer could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the Guardian reports.
Meanwhile, the next senate election is due around August and candidates cannot officially register as candidates until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.
Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, a professional puppeteer from rural Queensland, said on Saturday she had yet to discuss her son’s political bid with him.
“The number one issue at the next election regardless of who you vote for is democracy in this country – whether or not we’re just a state of the US and whether or not our citizens are going to be just handed over as a sacrifice to the US alliance,” she said.