John Shipton, Assange’s biological father, accepted the document at a celebration in Darlington, saying that his son had been “abandoned” by the Australian authorities, and the passport ceremony was a show of solidarity.
“Australian governments of every colour are happy to abandon their citizens when they’re in difficult situations overseas,” he said to a crowd of about 200 people at a Darlington celebration today.
Julian Assange has been staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June avoiding extradition to Sweden, where the WikiLeaks founder is wanted for questioning in regards to sexual assault allegations against him.
“He’s in a small room… and in that he has a treadmill and a sunlamp,” Shipton told reporters soon after accepting an Aboriginal Nations passport, for use when travelling within Australia, on behalf of his son.
He continued: “But he faces his future with equanimity. He says he may have to spend 12 months in this situation. I think that he’s prepared himself for his long meditation.”
Ray Jackson, the president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), insists that the Australian authorities haven’t given Assange enough help, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Julian was treated badly by this government, who are quite happy to sit back and take orders from the US,” Jackson said.
As The Global Post writes, the ISJA advocates for the recognition of Australian Aboriginals sovereignty, a cause Shipton said his son supports.
“Julian has always expressed the desire that the Aboriginal people of Australia be recognized as sovereign,” said Assange’s father. “It is a point of view that is becoming more accepted.”
Shipton, 68, went on, adding that he felt Australians were “genuinely concerned and moved” by the plight of Assange and the work of the controversial web resource, which has published hundreds of thousands of confidential documents online.
Assange’s father said that he had spoken to him about the Aboriginal Nationals passport – used for travel through Aboriginal lands in the country.
“This occasion is a further opportunity to generate support for Julian’s situation,” he said. “The irony is it’s a great help to bring to notice to people that the situation is well, very questionable, morally very questionable.”
Shipton added: “The (Australian) foreign minister could do a little more. Although he says he has done a lot, he won’t speak to me.”
John, who said he had always kept in touch with Assange’s mother but had little contact with his son from when he was three until his twenties, spoke of his pride in Assange, a former computer hacker.
“I am astounded, absolutely astounded. And each day more impressed,” he said. “He seems as though he handles himself at those rarefied atmospheres really quite well.”
“It must have taken a great deal of suffering to have learned so quickly how to move amongst those people… and not display fear when the whole American empire wishes to crush you.”