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Ear to the Ground

Assange May Get Another Chance at Australian Senate

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Posted on Nov 4, 2013
bbwbryant (CC BY-NC 2.0)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks Party made a Senate bid in September for a spot representing Victoria, Western Australia. Now, thanks to some missing ballots being found, the party has another opportunity to take part in the elections. During the Sept. 7 federal election, the WikiLeaks founder was not the lead candidate, but if the high court overseeing electoral procedures orders a new election, according to WikiLeaks candidate Gerry Georgatos, Assange will head the party’s ticket. Georgatos believes the new election would create an opportunity to “remedy the injustice of Julian Assange not being elected to the Senate” the first time around. The Guardian reports:

[A] recount found that 1375 ballot papers had gone missing for the new count, which saw Greens senator Scott Ludlam and Sports party candidate Wayne Dropulich the winners of the final two seats.

The high court, sitting as the court of disputed returns, could order a new election be held.

It’s unclear whether any new poll would be restricted to the same parties and candidates that contested the September 7 federal election, or if the regular procedure for nominations would occur.

Assange contested a Victorian Senate spot for his WikiLeaks party in September and attracted almost 41,700 primary votes out of 3.5 million…

“If a fresh election is called for, the WikiLeaks party will contest the election and we will accept the will of the people, not the mistakes of the AEC,” Mr Georgatos said in a statement on Monday.

“The imperative is for Julian Assange to reach our Senate and to renew democracy, to break down the narrow corridor of political discourse that are we mired within.”

Assange has previously stated that, were he to be elected as senator, “the US Department of Justice would back down from its espionage investigation in order to avoid sparking an international incident, with the British government following suit.” The WikiLeaks founder is still living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden where he’s wanted on sexual assault allegations. Assange believes he would be sent to the U.S. from Sweden to be tried in connection with publishing government documents on WikiLeaks. If he wins the election, however, he’d have to take his seat two months after the election, which would require his return to Australia.

To listen to Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges’ interview with Julian Assange in May, click here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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