Open letter: To Julia Gillard,
re Julian Assange

6 December 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

“We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.

William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?”

“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.

“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.

Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.

And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).

In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing.

Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.

As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.

A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial — it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world.

In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.

We look forward to your response.

Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and editor
Lizzie O’Shea, Social Justice Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn
Professor Noam Chomsky, writer and academic
Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author
Mungo MacCallum, journalist and writer
Professor Peter Singer, author and academic
Adam Bandt, MP
Senator Bob Brown
Senator Scott Ludlam
Julian Burnside QC, barrister
Jeff Lawrence, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions
Professor Raimond Gaita, author and academic
Rob Stary, lawyer
Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Lance Collins, Australian Intelligence Corps, writer
The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC
Brian Walters SC, barrister
Professor Larissa Behrendt, academic
Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, academic, Sydney Peace Foundation
Mary Kostakidis, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation
Professor Wendy Bacon, journalist
Christos Tsiolkas, author
James Bradley, author and journalist
Julian Morrow, comedian and television producer
Louise Swinn, publisher
Helen Garner, novelist
Professor Dennis Altman, writer and academic
Dr Leslie Cannold, author, ethicist, commentator
John Birmingham, writer
Guy Rundle, writer
Alex Miller, writer
Sophie Cunningham, editor and author
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Professor Judith Brett, author and academic
Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Phil Lynch, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre
Sylvia Hale, MLC
Sophie Black, editor
David Ritter, lawyer and historian
Dr Scott Burchill, writer and academic
Dr Mark Davis, author and academic
Henry Rosenbloom, publisher
Ben Naparstek, editor
Chris Feik, editor
Louise Swinn, publisher
Stephen Warne, barrister
Dr John Dwyer QC
Hilary McPhee, writer, publisher
Joan Dwyer OAM
Greg Barns, barrister
James Button, journalist
Owen Richardson, critic
Michelle Griffin, editor
John Timlin, literary Agent & producer
Ann Cunningham, lawyer and publisher
Alison Croggon, author, critic
Daniel Keene, playwright
Dr Nick Shimmin, editor/writer
Bill O'Shea, lawyer, former President, Law Institute of Victoria
Dianne Otto, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School
Professor Frank Hutchinson,Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney
Anthony Georgeff, editor
Max Gillies, actor
Shane Maloney, writer
Louis Armand, author and publisher
Jenna Price, academic and journalist
Tanja Kovac, National Cooordinator EMILY's List Australia
Dr Russell Grigg, academic
Dr Justin Clemens, writer and academic
Susan Morairty, Lawyer
David Hirsch, Barrister
Cr Anne O’Shea
Kathryn Crosby, Candidates Online
Dr Robert Sparrow, academic
Jennifer Mills, author
Foong Ling Kong, editor
Tim Norton,  Online Campaigns Co-ordinator,  Oxfam Australia
Elisabeth Wynhausen, writer
Ben Slade, Lawyer
Nikki Anderson, publisher
Dan Cass
Professor Diane Bell, author and academic
Dr Philipa Rothfield, academic
Gary Cazalet, academic
Dr David Coady, academic
Dr Matthew Sharpe, writer and academic
Dr Tamas Pataki, writer and academic
Miska Mandic
Associate Professor Jake Lynch, academic
Professor Simon During, academic
Michael Brull, writer
Dr Geoff Boucher, academic
Jacinda Woodhead, writer and editor
Dr Rjurik Davidson, writer and editor
Mic Looby, writer
Jane Gleeson-White, writer and editor
Alex Skutenko, editor
Associate Professor John Collins, academic
Professor Philip Pettit, academic
Dr Christopher Scanlon, writer and academic
Dr Lawrie Zion, journalist
Johannes Jakob, editor
Sunili Govinnage, lawyer
Michael Bates, lawyer
Bridget Maidment, editor
Bryce Ives, theatre director
Sarah Darmody, writer
Jill Sparrow, writer
Lyn Bender, psychologist
Meredith Rose, editor
Dr Ellie Rennie, President, Engage Media
Ryan Paine, editor
Simon Cooper, editor
Chris Haan, lawyer
Carmela Baranowska, journalist.
Clinton Ellicott, publisher
Dr Charles Richardson, writer and academic
Phillip Frazer, publisher
Geoff Lemon, journalist
Jaya Savige, poet and editor
Johannes Jakob, editor
Kate Bree Geyer; journalist
Chay-Ya Clancy, performer
Lisa Greenaway, editor, writer
Chris Kennett - screenwriter, journalist
Kasey Edwards, author
Dr. Janine Little, academic
Dr Andrew Milner, writer and academic
Patricia Cornelius, writer
Elisa Berg, publisher
Lily Keil, editor
Jenny Sinclair
Roselina Rose
Stephen Luntz
PM Newton
Bryan Cooke
Kristen Obaid
Ryan Haldane-Underwood
Patrick Gardner
Robert Sinnerbrink
Kathryn Millist
Anne Coombs
Karen Pickering
Sarah Mizrahi
Suzanne Ingleton
Jessica Crouch
Michael Ingleton
Matt Griffin
Jane Allen
Tom Curtis
John Connell
David Garland
Stuart Hall
Meredith Tucker-Evans
Phil Perkins
Alexandra Adsett
Tom Doig, editor
Beth Jackson
Peter Mattessi
Robert Sinnerbrink  
Greg Black
Paul Ashton
Sigi Jottkandt
Kym Connell, lawyer
Silma Ihram
Nicole Papaleo, lawyer
Melissa Forbes
Matthew Ryan
Ben Gook
Daniel East
Bridget Ikin
Lisa O'Connell
Melissa Cranenburgh
John Bryson
Michael Farrell
Melissa Reeves  
Dr Emma Cox
Michael Green
Margherita Tracanelli
David Carlin, writer
Bridget McDonnell
Geoff Page, writer
Rebecca Interdonato
Roxane Ludbrook-Ingleton
Stefan Caramia
Ash Plummer

This open letter, written by Dr Jeff Sparrow and Lizzie O'Shea, first appeared on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In a prefatory note the authors say:

We wrote the letter [above] because we believe that Julian Assange is entitled to all the protections enshrined in the rule of law — and that the Australian Government has an obligation to ensure he receives them.

The signatures here have been collected in the course of a day-and-a-half, primarily from people in publishing, law and politics. The signatories hold divergent views about WikiLeaks and its operations. But they are united in a determination to see Mr Assange treated fairly.

We know that many others would have liked to sign. But given the urgency of the situation, we though it expedient to publish now rather than collect more names.

If, however, you agree with the sentiments expressed, we encourage you to leave your name in the comments section.

A few hours after this letter was published on the ABC's website there were over 1500 comments, over 99% of them expressing agreement with the letter. By December 10 there were over 5000 comments. Among the first 1500 were the following:

Edmund Moran, 07 Dec 2010 5:33:27pm

I would like to stand up and be counted. I fervently hope our PM has the backbone and guts to stand up to these americans who threaten death.

Chris Roberts, 07 Dec 2010 4:00:32pm

No one I know wants any harm to come to Julian Assange and all are appalled by Julia Gillard's absurd response to an Australian citizen. Bring him home and give him protection from the mad yanks.

Philip J Zagarella, 07 Dec 2010 4:02:30pm

However embarrassing it may be for the United States to have their shortcomings aired on a global scale, it doesn't make Julian Assange a criminal. Mr Assange should be afforded the assistance which any Australian citizen is legally entitled to, without qualifications referring to any so-called "obligations" the Australian government may have to its American friends.

Cynthia Jackson, 07 Dec 2010 4:14:04pm

I whole heartedly support this letter.

Mr Assange is an Australian citizen. His citizenship should stand for something. It's vital that govenments protect their citizens. All to often this doesn't happen, and this shames us all. Remember the treatment meted out to David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib? They were not protected by the Australian Government of the day. Lets not repeat that mistake.

Peter Kahl, 07 Dec 2010 4:14:51pm

I think Ms Gillard forgot that she is supposed to work for Australian people and not the small group of Washington elitists.

Alison Shaw, 07 Dec 2010 4:14:56pm

How can you expect a Prime Minister with no backbone to stand up for an Australian citizen?

I support everything in this letter, but won't hold my breath that Gillard will act anything but a lame, pathetic puppet to US interests

Adrian Rogers, 07 Dec 2010 4:22:00pm

It is time for the Australian Government to stand up for the rule of law, not the rule of political assassination whenever a citizen says or publishes something inconvenient to the authorities. If Australia cannot stand up for Julian Assange when he seeks to expose corruption on behalf of those who have no voice, then one must ask what exactly the catchphrase 'Australian values' means. Being friends with another country, even the US should not mean we have to grovel, to them or anyone else. Finally, politicians need to remember that they are in power to do the will of the people, and not merely to claim they are representing them when an election is due.

Andrew Bartlett, 07 Dec 2010 4:23:46pm

I wholeheartedly support this.

Whatever people's individual views about what Wikileaks is doing or about Julian Assange as an individual, it is not good enough for our government to sit back and say nothing while senior US political figures (as well as at least one influential Canadian) openly call for his assassination, or for him to be declared a 'terrorist' or an 'enemy combatant'.

It is little short of an incitement to murder, and our government (and we as a nation) should be very clearly stating that this is completely unacceptable.

Max Willoughby, 07 Dec 2010 4:24:55pm

I agree completely. The comments on this matter from our elected representatives, particularly Prime Minister Gillard and Attorney General McClelland who should both know better, have been disgraceful.

sean, 07 Dec 2010 4:25:35pm

Above all else Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, if threats against his life have been made it would be expected that the Australian government will do what it can to protect him, not throw him to the dogs like this. Especialy if he has commited no crime.

dubious the third, 07 Dec 2010 4:26:01pm

For anyone interested — Mr Assange is leading the Time magazine Person of the Year 2010 poll

vote here,28804,2028734_2028733_2028727,00.html

John Dalton, 07 Dec 2010 4:26:15pm

I support this letter in full.

I have mixed feelings about the latest leak, but on the whole there's no question in my mind that wikileaks is a net positive. That aside, no matter what he has done Julian Assange deserves to be treated fairly and legally, and *any* Australian citizen ought to be able to expect the support of their government in opposition to any extra-legal action.

Peter Boyle, 07 Dec 2010 4:27:01pm

I agree. An Australian government for the people would afford Wikileaks and Julian Assange all the protection and support possible and refuse to collaborate with any forces trying to silence them. A government truly committed to freedom and democracy would help Wikileaks expose the lies, duplicities and crimes against humanity of the powerful.

Jane Hearn, 07 Dec 2010 4:27:55pm

Incitement to violence against any Australian citizen by leading figures in the US must be vocally condemned.

The PM should make the statement on behalf of the Australian people, not just the government.

Brendan Jerome, 07 Dec 2010 4:28:00pm

I am in disbelief that our elected government has said nothing, absolutly nothing in defence of its citizens from American hostility and threats from senior members from the republican party.

Rothbard, 07 Dec 2010 4:29:11pm

Totally support letter. Gillard should also look at the Swedish charges against Assange. They are as dubious as you can get.

Sean Reynolds, 07 Dec 2010 4:31:33pm

Please stand up for Australia's independence from American political pressure, and far more importantly for freedom of speech and the rule of law. Britain protected Salman Rushdie — why will you not do the same for Julian Assange?

ozjust, 07 Dec 2010 4:32:50pm

Not only should Ms Gillard provide assistance to Mr Assange. She should apologise for the harm she and her government caused to him so far by publicly alleging his wrongdoing and making other prejudicial comments. She should justify the ground on which her government initiated investigations as to whether Mr Assange has breached any Australian law and explain why it is not discriminatory. She should call for the US government to take action against those who publicly incite violence against Mr Assange.

Fiona Nelson, 07 Dec 2010 4:36:34pm

Only Bob Brown so far standing up for human rights and freedom of speech and freedom of press

Cameron Reilly, 07 Dec 2010 4:36:57pm

I add my name to the list. Shame on the Australian government for allowing one of its citizens to be harassed in such a way.

Iain Louden, 07 Dec 2010 4:38:07pm

Do you want to be an ethical Aussie or a Sarah Palin type object of derision Julia?. Any co-operation you give the US over this will be seen as a clear message that you no longer want to remain PM.

Add my name to the evergrowing list.

Eileen Glynn, 07 Dec 2010 4:39:06pm

We are at a crossroads historically and Julian Assange is the face of a vanguard that is no longer prepared to tolerate the systematic degradation of human rights internationally. The Australian Government has the opportunity to be seen as a part of that movement or to become a hurdle hindering it's process. Either way it's progress now initiated cannot be stopped. The freedom genie once released cannot be put back in it's bottle.

kathryn o'ryan, 07 Dec 2010 4:39:49pm

Please afford Mr Assange all the protection available to him as an Australian Citizen. The David Hicks situation was a disgrace to us as Australians, and it cannot be allowed to happen again.

Jane Morgan, 07 Dec 2010 4:41:09pm

I absolutely support the above. Gillard should begin by apologising for her appalling earlier response.

Rob Eager, 07 Dec 2010 4:42:53pm

When a nation fails its own it fails as a nation. I would be proud to add my voice to those calling on this government to provide Julian Assange with all the support, security and assistance that as an Australian citizen he is entitled to.

Campbell Leonard, 07 Dec 2010 4:42:54pm

Are we to prove how "rock solid" we are by offering up our own?

Rik, 07 Dec 2010 4:43:18pm

The Australian government makes it clear that the interests of America come before those of Australian citizens.

America's aggressive attitude towards the rest of the world leads many a government to act out of fear rather than what is morally and legally right. It's sad to think that we are amongst the former.

Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy, 07 Dec 2010 4:43:47pm

I support the above letter that considers Julian Assange an Australian citizen, and therefore has the right to be protected by his government.

Even if Assange (and the media outlets) had broken a law somewhere in the world (which it appears is highly unlikely), he is entitled to full support from and protection by the Australian Government.

And by the way, the tasteless calls for his murder should not be tolerated by anyone. These are the people who should be arrested for incitement to murder.

Jim Duffield, 07 Dec 2010 4:44:02pm

I've just nominated Julian as Australian of the Year...goto it...

Graham Chapman, 07 Dec 2010 4:46:01pm

I thoroughly support this letter. Wikileaks publications cause embarrassment, but embarrassment is not the same thing as a threat to national security. Political leaders should accept that embarrassment is part of the job and develop methods of handling it, instead of trying to misuse the power of the state to crush it. The Australian Government's lack of support for Assange and misguided criticism of him is truly shameful.

Rob Griffin, 07 Dec 2010 4:46:39pm

Add my name to please.

Mr Assange is a journalist publishing truth. If our govt is saying truth is illegal then we desperately need a new political system.

ant, 07 Dec 2010 4:47:46pm

If the Americans wanted to crucify Jesus all over again, our present government would agree. If they wanted to shoot Nelson Mandela they would go along with that too. After all he's a terrorist, isn't he? That's why they locked him up for twenty seven years. And for Gillard to claim that the 'foundation act was illegal' is utter crap. Was it illegal when Daniel Ellsberg photocopied the Pentagon Papers and gave them to the New York Times. Did the publisher, namely the New York Times, get death threats? Were smear campaigns run against them in the media and were their assets frozen? Was the editor accused of espionage? Of course not. All this shows is how far America has gone down the path of Fascism century by century until now they are the full Fascist article from top to bottom and the idiots inside the bubble don't even know it.

teki, 07 Dec 2010 4:50:15pm

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen he has not been convicted of any crime as yet so he should be entitled to full protection from the Australian Government like any other Australian citizen.

S. Ariyaratna, 07 Dec 2010 4:50:22pm

How I vote in the future elections will depend on the stance the political parties will take on this issue. I suspect I won't be alone in this. As one wrote the treatment and accusations against Mr. Assange reminds us of the fatwa issued on Mr. Rushdie!

William Sit, 07 Dec 2010 4:51:02pm

I don't think publishing the leaks poses harm to diplomacy. Quite the contrary, diplomats should not say one thing publicly and another privately. If the publication of the leaks help diplomats to speak the truth in public and in private, the world will benefit from better, easier and trustier negotiations.

While the necessity for secrecy in diplomatic negotiations is recognized, the public has a right not to be deceived. Mr. Assange has the courage to reveal the truth as it has been and should not be threatened or prosecuted for this service to the world.

I support the open letter.

Dora Paras, 07 Dec 2010 4:51:31pm

Agree! The Australian govt. shouldn't have to be reminded or called to act in the best interests of an Australian citizen. This is disappointing.

John Drake, 07 Dec 2010 4:52:16pm

I agree also, the Australian Government should support this brave Australian Citizen.

Jane Callard, 07 Dec 2010 4:52:57pm

I concur totally with all the points expressed in this excellent letter. As the Prime Minister of Australia, you are responsible for all our citizens, legally and morally. The buck stops with you.

If you sacrifice one Australian, how can any of us feel safe again? How can any of us trust our elected government, and you personally, ever again?

Simon McWaters, 07 Dec 2010 4:54:10pm

If a nation fails in its duty to provide protection from arbitrary foreign powers to its citizens, what right has a nation to demand its citizens fulfill their duties?

Andrew Mosey, 07 Dec 2010 4:54:39pm

Well written letter, I fully support questions being asked of "our" Government's stance of abandoning Australian citizens to appease the US.

Jack Squat, 07 Dec 2010 4:57:36pm

This has got to be one of the greatest clicks I have ever made! Just a fantastic letter. I am ashamed to me an american and I have shut my PP account down along with Amazon, I hope this is what "they" wanted. I will not support companies that do not practice free speech. I will fight them until they kill me. They will not legislate morality to push their war worshiping agenda on me ever again.

There are lines in the sand now that a very clear and easy even for the brainwashed to see. When was the last time you saw the Obama goons on the same page as Faux News?

Stand up for your freedom or you will regret it. These bozos have been treating us in this way for a long time. We live in a police state now over 2 fake wars based on false flag events that have killed very brutally thousands upon thousands of civilians. These are the scumbags that are finally being exposed for what they are-true-pure-evil.

Margaret Waddington, 07 Dec 2010 4:57:57pm

The contemptible David Hicks saga repeated by yet another gutless Australian government. I fully support the letter and thank the authors.

Ronald K Smith solicitor (rtd), 07 Dec 2010 4:58:26pm

Readers will no doubt recall the shock and amazement felt following the issue of the fatwah against Salman Rushdie. And now our own allies are engaging in similar outrages in calling for the death of Mr Assange. Our present Prime Minister must be persuaded to afford him every assistance, to support the right of the public to know, and to support freedom of information and speech. Should she not show such leadership, she will lose the support of those who value justice and the rule of law.

Julie Radalj, 07 Dec 2010 5:01:44pm

I too concur. Julian Assange has broken no law.

His reporting of facts may have embarrassed people in elected high public office, but they need to manage their emotions in the wake of that loss of face, responsibly and legally.

He is an Australian citizen, and we need to bring him home NOW.

E Newman, 07 Dec 2010 5:02:11pm

As a 7th Generation Australian I believe all Australians should have there rights upheld and be looked after by those that we the People of Australia have elected to there positions. And if they refuse to look after an Australian citizen then they do not deserve to be in aforementioned positions.

N van Garderen-Burlace, 07 Dec 2010 5:03:22pm

Please add my name to the list also. I thoroughly support this initiative.

This is not a question of whether one agrees or disagrees with the politics of the situation, or the personality of Assange, but whether one agrees or disagrees with the suspension of due process and a free press, and whether one condones calls to assassinate a journalist for making previously unknown information public.

Michael Winikoff, 07 Dec 2010 5:03:51pm

I support the letter.

Regardless of whether one agrees with wikileaks, Assange is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Calls for his assassination are completely out of line and deserve to receive widespread condemnation.

G.Goodwin, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:06pm


Its about time the Australian Government to put its citizens first, not the interests of other countries.

Nicholas Collinson, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:12pm

I fully support the move to have Assange brought home and treated fairly. He's no criminal, he's a campaigner for freedom of speech and freedom in general. Hearing all these cries for blood from the 'usual suspects', as I call them, simply goes to prove how backwards and barbaric the Right Wing is, especially in America.

Tony Downs, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:13pm

I fully support the above letter, the Australian Government has a duty of care to its citizens

Paul Christie, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:37pm

Youth worker, artist, festival producer. sign me up..

I would add that it is the responsibility of the Australian Government to place international charges against the various US public figures that are calling for Jullians death. If there were Muslims in the US that were public figures screaming for the death of a person that had released material that insulted Islam they would be charged with inciting violence and the rest.

This issue will help serve to highlight the hypocrisy of our "democratic" governments for many more to see.

grateful for your work..

Allan Clifton, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:52pm

Gillard is a dangerous dud. She should be ashamed of herself re her statements on this matter.

Please add my name to the list.

Lindsay Johnston, 07 Dec 2010 5:04:53pm

Congratulations to the authors of the open letter. The reasoning reduced to print in your open letter says it all. Those of us who cherish the right to speak out and challenge the every increasing use of secrecy by Governments and big business commend you. The advocacy of the use of violence by foreign politicians and public figures is to be condemned. They have lowered their standing to the lowest common denominator, if not having committed a criminal act. Add my name to the list.

John Weeks, 07 Dec 2010 5:05:20pm

I fully support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and his team. Truth is a must!... That's something that the Australian Government must understand. Julia Gillard, as PM, take the courage and stand for what is right by supporting Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks team. The people demand the truth and you must listen and act on this Australian and worldwide need!

ivan bulmer, 07 Dec 2010 5:08:42pm

add me to the list. It's a disgusting case of trying to shoot the messenger. Same as a burglar blaming the person who catches him for his stealing. Its also an insult to think we would be dumb enough to believe the character assassination happening to him by power drunk corrupt American administration.

Rod Andrew, 07 Dec 2010 5:09:13pm

Add me to the list.

I've never commented before but Assange's treatment, and especially that meted out to him by Gillard, is shameful. This is a very important time for Australia to show its independence and its commitment to the basic principles of democracy.

Mal McClenaghan, 07 Dec 2010 5:09:34pm

I agree wholeheartedly with this open letter. It is high time our government gave Australian citizens the protection to which they are entitled. This country has an extremely poor record for defending its citizens against the brutal and illegal actions of supposedly friendly foreign nations.

Daniel Andrews, 07 Dec 2010 5:10:03pm

I agree strongly with this letter and would like to add my signature to it. The behaviour of the Australian government toward Julian Assange and Wikileaks has been horrifying.

Cameron reeley, 07 Dec 2010 5:11:57pm

The espionage charges are total rubbish, if the US government doesn't want its dirty laundry aired then it should either find the leaks or not do anything wrong. I support Julian Assange all the way.

Krista McClelland, 07 Dec 2010 5:12:43pm

I fully support this letter. Julia Gillard's assertions that Julian Assange's actions are illegal are deeply disturbing and prejudicial. Is our prime minister incapable of formulating a view that doesn't mimic American hysteria?

redlighthouse, 07 Dec 2010 5:13:45pm

This is commendable, the Prime Minister needs to know that in this country Julian Assange has the overwhelming support of the people.

Harry Ortheil, Farmer, 07 Dec 2010 5:15:15pm

Disgusting that the PM appears to acquiesce to the lynch mob.

Please add my name to the list.

Nick Eckstein, 07 Dec 2010 5:15:49pm

I applaud and support unreservedly the authors' call for the Australian government to defend and uphold the rights of Julian Assange as an Australian citizen. Mr Assange has been accused of no crime in any jurisdiction in relation to Wikileaks' publication of leaked material. The threats and harassment to which he is now subjected must be denounced and resisted. I call upon our government to stand up for Mr Assange, and to repudiate the outrageous attacks on his liberty, and the implicit attack on the rights of his fellow Australians.

Stoney, 07 Dec 2010 5:17:49pm

I approve of what Julian Assange is doing and I only wish we had more courageous people in this sad world who'd be willing to do the same.

I support the letter written to the PM 100%.

Julia, you wanted to be PM. You harboured that desire for a long time. Now's the time to test your mettle deary. Genuine PM material or a dismal, weak-gutted, lilly-livered failure?

GezzaMtK, 07 Dec 2010 5:18:08pm

This letter has my full support. The prime minister's comment are a disgrace and suggest she has little more moral substance than her LNP predecessor. Principles are fast vanishing from Australian politics.

gurenkuraku, 07 Dec 2010 5:22:46pm

I'm on board with this... this letter sums up my sentiments quite well (and those of many people I know).

Prime Minister Gillard... the world is watching. Will you be just another US lackey like Howard was or will you stand up for open democracy and the rule of law?

Alex Johnson, 07 Dec 2010 5:23:49pm

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in the statement and call upon the Prime Minister and the Government to send a strong message of condemnation of calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

Kate Stanley, 07 Dec 2010 5:25:00pm

Thank you for the opportunity to register my name to your article.

The information that Julian Assange is diseminating is the truth. We just don't have to wait 30 years for the Government papers to be released.

Truth shall set us free.

Leo Sayer, 07 Dec 2010 5:25:49pm

Please add my support to this motion.

Mr Assange is a model Australian, a brave and courageous young man and he has my automatic vote for Australian Of The Year for 2011. This country is all about heroes who stand for justice, truth, free speech and the laws of humanity. It looks to me like finally in this age of political bullying, we, the people, have a new bona fide hero.

Jasmine Barron, 07 Dec 2010 5:25:59pm

Please add my support. I wish we had a government that was brave enough to stand up for our citizens rights rather than follow the U.S. around doing their bidding.

Darren Gibcus, 07 Dec 2010 5:27:14pm

I work in a foreign country and the treatment of Julian Assange by our head of government disturbs me greatly.

With no public thought or reasonable justification, Julia Gillard has sided with a foreign govenment to villify one of our citizens.

I fear that if a lowly person such as myself was caught in an incident whilst outside Australia, I would not even register on our government's radar.

I fully support Mr. Assange in his rights to fair treatment and legal protection; and condemn Julia Gillard for her spineless response to threats to one of our more prominent citizens.

David Rea, 07 Dec 2010 5:28:29pm

I wholeheartedly support the open letter. It really bothers me that our leaders who claim to support democracy are the first to try and subvert it at the whim of the political and corporate elites. It looks as though Julia Gillard is just John Howard in a dress.

Jamie Ross, 07 Dec 2010 5:29:37pm

I agree, add my name.

What we have had revealed is not just a lot of chatter but the truth which the USA government is now trying to suppress. The rest of the world's governments are laughing the information off and not letting it worry them. The USA on the other hand have been promoting themselves as the bastion of democracy, freedom of speech but the truth is showing itself by the releases as well as their attempts to supress this and the violent paranoid threats against the founder of Wikileaks. The rhetoric reminds me of the outcrying during the McArthy years. USA, I hope that many more people expose the truth about you.

Grame Thompson, 07 Dec 2010 5:30:30pm

Absolute agreement and I would be privileged to have my name added to the signatories

Grame Thompson, Digital Forensics consultant

Though I would also like the AFP and/or state authorities to investigate whether to charge prominent (or otherwise) international individuals with "Conspiring to commit murder" since I can guarantee if any Australian threatened the life of an American etc they would instantly be investigated by our own and American authorities. And yes we have jurisdiction to do so.

John Arndell, 07 Dec 2010 5:31:51pm

I wonder what Salman Rushdie would have to say about all this? Blasphemy to the 'American Way', it seems.

Luke Skilbeck, 07 Dec 2010 5:31:55pm

Why is the US government targeting Julian, when the biggest newspaper in their country also published it too??

Michael Eve, 07 Dec 2010 5:32:17pm

Fully agree with sentiments of the letter! Lets make this spineless, toadying government represent we the people, not their American overlords.

Dr Christine Eastwood, 07 Dec 2010 5:32:31pm

Agree with the views expressed in the letter. Transparency, accountability and freedom of speech are key issues in a democracy. Such qualities are also necessary to prevent crime and corruption at all levels of government. The Australian government would do well to remember they are the elected representatives of the people — there to serve the people as members of parliament — not just as politicians.

As stated by Burke, "All it takes for evil to flourish, is for good wo(men) to do nothing."

Brandon M. Sergent, 07 Dec 2010 5:32:35pm

Agreed without reservation.

The key point here is that no one is accusing him of lying or falsifying documents, even the most rabid and deceptive of his detractors.

Thus we all agree he's telling the truth.

The day society collectively demands that a person be punished for telling the truth is a day we should all fear for our own and our children's sake.

Hannah Quinn, Writer, AU Voter, 07 Dec 2010 5:32:42pm

Until proven otherwise, Assange is innocent under the law of all charges against him. For anyone in a position of authority or influence in the US or elsewhere to call for him to be assassinated is reprehensible. For our PM or Government to claim he is guilty and, therefore, to threaten to cancel his passport or to not speak out against such calls for murder on one of this country's citizens, or anyone else for that matter, is beyond belief.

I add my name to this open letter.

Kalikamurti Suich, 07 Dec 2010 5:33:56pm

I am ashamed at the behaviour and response of the Australian government and particulary Julia Gillard. For Mr Assange I am deeply appreciative of his attempts to bring us into a new world order of integrity and honesty. I appreciate his courage

Sean Hyland, 07 Dec 2010 5:35:44pm

I was once a supporter of Julia and have always voted Labor. Never, ever again. Ms Gillard, you are a national disgrace.

Daniel W, 07 Dec 2010 5:39:24pm

The US should not be able to reduce the quality of life and freedoms of its allies in pursuit of its own agenda.

Enough is enough. They have supposedly caught the person responsible for obtaining the data in the first place, who I'm sure will be treated appallingly. Time to stand up and stop handing over Australian citizens just because we're asked to. The internet is being used as an excuse to extradite people to be charged in the US, it has to stop.

Growsum, 07 Dec 2010 5:39:27pm

The Americans are currently exhibiting attitudes that would fit well with Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany.

It may be ok for Governments to keep secrets it is NOT ok for them to lie, deceive and in the American's case believe their law extends across the whole world.

The steps taken against Wikileaks and the way the corporate world has buckled to US pressure is a massive attack on the principles of democracy and freedom. Anyone who doubts this is a fool.

Tony Lee, 07 Dec 2010 5:39:51pm

As Australian we have always had a bit of the larrikin and always enjoyed our freedom to speak our mind and call a spade-a-spade. Over the past 15 or so years I have witnessed the progressive dilution of our freedom of speech in this great country and way too much political correctness creeping in. I see a creeping Americanisation of our culture and it disturbs me that our politicians of all political persuasions lack the backbone to be more forthright and fight the good and just fight. Add my name to the list please.

Chris Doig, 07 Dec 2010 5:41:05pm

Wikileaks and Julian Assange should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - why not? Who has done more to help awaken the sleepers around the world who have for so long believed that the US government was some kind of ally — rather than a rapacious, ruthless, murderous rogue state that will stop at nothing to infiltrate and corrupt any one, any government, any politician, media-owner or business person, who lacks the integrity and the courage to refuse their requests for submission and compliance in their anti-democratic, anti-human rights scheming. As for McClelland, Abbott and Gillard, well they look and sound like traitors to Australia and to the rule of law to me.

Disillusioned Aussie, 07 Dec 2010 5:41:12pm

Add me, Trevor Kohler to this list. He is an Aussie not a yank. Treat the death threats seriously and take action now to save him from their death squads. He has not been convicted of anything.

Simon Shaw, 07 Dec 2010 5:41:12pm

Please add my name to the list as well. Mr Assange does not appear to have broken any Australian law and is to be applauded for his actions in promoting the free and open dissemination of information.

Gaye McSweeney, 07 Dec 2010 5:41:51pm

Whatever he has done — or is alleged to have done — he MUST be granted protection as an Australian citizen. If he has breached no law, then he should face no penalty (and retrospective legislation should never be used). Our present government must extend protection to one of our citizens, or stand revealed as morally bankrupt.

Please add my name to the open letter. May it pressure politicians into locating their backbones!

Cherie Pugh (writer), 07 Dec 2010 5:42:15pm

The hysterical viciousness with which Julian Assange's death has been called for by the right wing is astonishing. There may be evil people who deserve execution without trial, but Julian is not in their league. Whatever happened to government for the people, by the people? And how does our governments use of secrecy and lies fit into our open, democratic system of government? Or is that just a long dead dream, and should we just accept Machiavellian politics, evil scheming and murder as the new world order?

Time to fight back with the truth — Go Julian!

David Morris-Oliveros, 07 Dec 2010 5:42:17pm

I whole-heartly agree with this letter.

It does not say whether Mr Assange is guilty or not, it merely states that Mrs Gillard should condem calls for his unlawful assasination.

Susan Bromley, 07 Dec 2010 5:42:19pm

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER FOR THE MESSAGE achieves little except to make the life of Julian Assange seem precarious, which is un-Australian on so many levels. I wholeheartedly support this letter and would like to see this newly elected government show some backbone and condemn the threats that have been made against him and give any support necessary.

simoc, 07 Dec 2010 5:42:29pm

I'm disgusted with our PM and Attorney general and look forward to the next election where I will put it in print. Be gone you fools.

Glenn of Bunya, 07 Dec 2010 5:43:10pm

What is disturbing is that there is a need for a letter of this type. The Prime minister holds the highest representative office in the land; how is it that she and her cabinet requires a reminder or prompting, that these foundations of law and natural justice are what underpin us as a successful liberal democaracy.

Shelley Clarke, 07 Dec 2010 5:44:45pm

There is no question here...Could you please do what is right and stand up for our fellow citizen, Julia?

Kym Matheson, 07 Dec 2010 5:51:00pm

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948

How fast our leaders forget ...

Add my name to the list.

tej, 07 Dec 2010 5:52:33pm

Julia Gillard, it is time to represent the the people of Australia, not the United States of America.

jbremner, 07 Dec 2010 5:52:36pm

I strongly endorse the letter. This could become Julia Gillard's own David Hicks moment. Can it be true that the Labor Government has sunk as low as Howard?

Peter Tait, 07 Dec 2010 6:20:38pm

Add me. The craven response of the Australian government is a disgrace.

Sylvia Posadas, 07 Dec 2010 6:23:09pm

I support the letter. As an Australian citizen, I expect much, much more from my government than the despicable advice and lack of support demonstrated to date by Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and the rest of her government.

The government is the servant of the people, when it is otherwise, there is tyranny.

Angela, 07 Dec 2010 6:26:05pm

My feelings are still mixed about Wikileaks but regardless of whether I agree with Julian Assange's actions, he is entitled to the protection of the law. It is a basic human right and one that the Australian Government should not hesitate in upholding.

Shame on the Australian Government.

Lisa Hodgson, 07 Dec 2010 6:27:41pm

I passionately support this letter and other comments made about the disgraceful and hypocritical treatment of Assange. It is clear what is morally right in this case. Please add my name to the list.

Brendan, 07 Dec 2010 6:27:48pm

Hear, hear. Politicians take note. Your actions (and ommissions) fly in the face of all that most decent Australian's hold dear. You have brought shame upon yourselves and our country with the stance you have taken.

philip white, 07 Dec 2010 6:28:10pm

I believe it essential that Julian Assange be awarded all the support and assistance he is due under the law, and seek to make my abhorrence clear at the thought of my Prime Minister making the sort of accusations she today uttered about this man.

Peter Graham, 07 Dec 2010 6:29:09pm

I would like to have my name added in support of this letter. Our government should be supporting any Australian citizen instead of making blustering comments reminiscent of those of the Howard government when, through cowardice, brown-nosing, or just plain nastiness, they allowed one of our citizens to be kidnapped, tortured and held without charge for years without one word of protest. Julia and her attorney-general should hang their heads in shame for their ill-considered remarks in this matter.

lgm11, 07 Dec 2010 6:29:37pm

Julian Assange may or may not be guilty of a number of things but if publishing information supplied to him from another source is a crime then all newspaper editors are guilty of the same crime as he. My understanding is he has not broken a law in this country or for that matter the US. If however, the evidence is provided and there is cause for law enforcers in Sweden to legitimately arrest him for alleged sexual assault then that surely must occur and he face the consequences of that crime. In both cases, in Australia, he is not guilty until proven so. The US has the freedom of speech protected under their much vaunted Bill of rights. It would appear this is only to be upheld in the US these days if that freedom does not included criticising the US Govt. Australia must support its citizen regardless.

Sandra Dale Boughtonmm, 07 Dec 2010 6:30:32pm

I wish to have my name added to the list of those calling on Australia to defend her own citizens.

Antony Nottinghamm, 07 Dec 2010 6:31:00pm

Every Australian should be very very concerned and afraid; unless of course OUR GOVERNMENT, THE PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENT comes out in DEFENSE of the RULE OF LAW, FREE SPEECH and Mr Julien Assanges rights as an AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN

Alan Dickens aust citizen, 07 Dec 2010 6:32:46pm

Why Prime Minister will you not publicly defend an Australian Citizen from death threats?

If his supposed "illegal act" was to publish information leaked to him then will the Australian Government be attempting to prosecute the owners of every Australian TV and Radio Station Newspaper and magazine as well ae every journaliat, reporter, editor tv and radio news presenter etc who have also continued to publish these FACTS

A public responce supporting YOUR OWN country is needed now Prime Minister or are you going to be the new Deputy Sherriff to the USA

karen winnett, 07 Dec 2010 6:33:18pm

Blatant false rape charges (under Swedish law sex without a condom out of wedlock is rape)is just a trap. Mr Assange has merely disseminated information. Any embarrassment is the fault of the people who have done wrong, not the person who tells about it. That is the role of journalism, it is the role of freedom of information, it is the right of all. Stop pandering to the US in this. He is Australian and deserves our support as he tries to give the world informed choice about the future, and the performance of the governments that we elect to rule us.

Matthew Ware, 07 Dec 2010 6:34:01pm

Add my name to the list.

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen, If our government does not help him then they are the complete opposite what it means to be Australian, And are therefore not worthy of our loyalty and support.

Ben Price, 07 Dec 2010 6:36:04pm

I fully support this letter. I am so ashamed and frustrated. Our government is weak, our PM is spineless. It is likely this man will disappear into the night and there won't be a thing we can do about it. I can't recognize my county any more. I feel removed from it. This isn't right.

Paul - Researcher and Teacher, 07 Dec 2010 6:37:16pm

If Julia Gillard as our sworn Prime Minister is to uphold the AUSTRALIAN constitution, then she is bound to protect her citizens, regardless of Whom said what to whom in leaked papers. She should act to protect Julian Assange as he has committed no act against this country or his citizenship. As other commentators have noted, do we need to repeat the doctrine of the Howard years in disregard of our citizens due to the overriding paranioa of the US, and while the US is our friend in times of peace and war, we do not always have to agree with our friend's views of right and wrong, and Julia, you need to show your spine as leader of this country, not placate the US Secretary of State or a wounded group of US ambassador's pride for speaking out of turn in what the believe was a private forum.

John Young, 07 Dec 2010 6:39:30pm

Julian Assange has operated within the law; the same cannot be said for the United States of America, which has blatantly thumbed its nose at the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Torture; not to mention its hypocritical violation of the US Constitution which prohibits "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". Australians, stand up for what is right, demand that your representatives esteem human rights to be more important than kowtowing to US interests.

Paul Cablehorn, 07 Dec 2010 6:41:56pm

Julia, how dare you stand-by and cheer-on the lynching of a person; an Australian person; a person you swore to protect. How dare you!

I support the above letter to you.

Derek Townsend, 07 Dec 2010 6:43:13pm

It is despicable that Julia Gillard is an accessory to incitement to commit murder, by her failure to protect an Australian citizen against the morally bankrupt Americans calling for his assassination.

Justin Moody, 07 Dec 2010 6:43:49pm

Mr Assange you are an amazing man. Australian of the century.

Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott. You are the weakest, gutless most corrupt political leaders this country have ever had.

sally reeves, 07 Dec 2010 6:43:52pm

i fully support this open letter, please add my name to the list. i think it is a disgrace and shameful for any person to call upon any persons death, shame on those who have done. i am a proud australian and i support julian assange and is is an australian shame on our government for not aiding Julian. david Hicks was shamefully treated by howard and his government, one was bad enough.

Gillard and Obama
I'm just a puppet;
Obama pulls the strings.

As long as Julia Gillard maintains her stated position that Julian Assange committed "an illegal act" (without stating what law was broken), and as long as she refuses to accord to Julian Assange all the rights due to an Australian citizen abroad who has not been convicted of any crime, and as long as she is shamelessly silent in the face of calls by various Americans for his assassination, she deserves to be recognized as a spineless, gutless, unprincipled arse-licker (no better than John Howard), a U.S. puppet, an elected official who does not represent the interests of the Australian people but rather the interests of a foreign government, and who is thus a traitor. Julia Gillard should resign as Australian Prime Minister immediately.

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