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Question regarding consular and legal support extended to Julian Assange

Scott Ludlam 10 Nov 2011



Mr Julian Assange

(Question No. l282)

Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs,

upon notice, on 21 October 2011 :

Given the Minister's responsibility for the protection of consular and legal rights of

all Australian citizens overseas:

(1) Has the Government maintained communication with Mr Julian Assange and extended consular and legal support while he adheres to bail conditions that include the surrendering of his passport, house arrest, electronic tagging, observation of curfews and daily reporting to police; if so, through what channels, and when and what services have been received.

Mr Assange has received high level consular assistance in accordance with the consular charter. Consular officials have attended all eleven of Mr Assange's court appearances. Consular officers spoke to Mr Assange on the day he was first detained, and the following day, and visited him in detention. Consular officials raised matters of concern with prison authorities while he was detained. Consular officers continue to monitor his case closely and have been in regular touch with his lawyers. Consular officers have also provided assistance to Mr Assange's mother, including arranging access for her to visit him in detention and offer to brief her on the consular aspects ofMr Assange's case. In relation to the current extradition proceedings between the UK and Sweden, Australia's Ambassador to Sweden sought assurances on three occasions from Swedish authorities that Mr Assange's case would proceed in accordance with due process (7 December 20 10, 5 January 2011 and 10 February 2011). Assurances have also been sought from the relevant UK authorities.

(2) Has the Government sought assurances from Sweden that, if extradited, Mr Assange will be questioned or face the charges ofwhich he is accused and will not be subject to the temporary surrender mechanism that could see him extradited to the United States of America (US).

The Government sought assurances on three occasions from Sweden that Mr Assange's case would be handled in accordance with due process (7 December 2010, 5 January 2011 and 10 February 2011).

(3) Has the Government investigated allegations in The Independent of 8 December 20 J0 that the US and Sweden have already conunenced discussions on Mr Assange's extradition.

The Australian Goverrunent is closely monitoring all developments in Mr Assange's case. The Government is not aware of any current extradition request by US authorities.

(4) Has the Government ascertained whether or not a reported sealed indictment of a US Grand Jury exists for crimes under the Espionage Act of 1917 or other statutes.

The Australian Government is not aware of any charges by the US Government against Mr Assange, including under the US Espionage Act.

(5) Does the Government define the work of Mr Assange in his capacity as Editor in Chief of Wikileaks as 'having implications for Australia's foreign relations', thereby triggering the application of the Intelligence Services Act.

This is a matter for the Attorney-General.

(6) Has the department provided advice to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation regarding investigations of Wikileaks.


(7) On what date did the Government communicate to the US the results of the Australian Federal Police investigation that indicated that Mr Assange had not committed a crime under Australian law in his capacity as Editor in Chief of Wikileaks.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has no record of any formal communication to the US Government of the results of the AFP evaluation. The AFP has posted a media release on its website advising the outcome of the evaluation.

(8) Has the Government sought clarification from the US Government as to what crimes Mr Assange is being investigated for by the Grand Jury in Alexandria.

The Australian Government has no formal advice of any Grand Jury investigation.

(9) Can the Minister continn that the Government would not extradite Mr Assange to the US should he return home.

This is a matter for the Attorney-General.

(10) Why has the Government failed to or refused to supply an answer to the question taken on notice on 2 June 2011 regarding a public interest immunity ground for a blanket refusal to answer any question arising from information in US cables made public through Wikileaks.

This is a matter for the Attorney-General.

(11) Has the Government reactivated the Wikileaks taskforce on the release of the unredacted cables.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is not currently involved in any active Wikileaks taskforce work on the release of un-redacted cables.


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