Professor John Keane from the University of Sydney recently spent an afternoon and evening inside the Ecuador Embassy in London with Julian Assange. This is an edited extract of his report on that interview, published in full this morning on The Conversation.

Tea and coffee arrive. We reach for the Tim Tams. Our conversation grows intense. For several years, Julian Assange tells me, he’s been intent on entering formal politics. A new WikiLeaks Party is soon to be launched.

Old enemies may make an appearance. Photo: John Keane

He’s sure it will easily attract the minimum of 500 paid-up members required by law. The party will field candidates for the Senate, probably in several states. And, yes, Assange is certain to be among them, probably as a candidate in Victoria.

Assange bounces through the probable scenarios. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will be re-elected. This will ramp up pressure on the Swedish authorities, whose case against him is “falling apart”, with the two women plaintiffs looking for a way to extricate themselves from the protracted messy drama. If he wins a seat in the Senate, he says, the US Department of Justice won’t want to spark an international diplomatic row.

The planet’s biggest military empire will back down. The Cameron government will follow suit, says Assange, otherwise “the political costs of the current standoff will be higher still”. So the obvious question: what are the chances of that happening? Can dare claim victory in his personal battle for political freedom?

What he has in mind has never before been attempted in Australian federal politics. Eugene Debs ran for the US presidency from prison (in 1920). Sinn Fein MP Bobby Sands was elected to Westminster while on hunger strike (in 1981). Under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi won a general election (in 1990). There are plenty of similar examples, so why shouldn’t Julian Assange attempt to do the same, and in style?

The technical objections aren’t real, he says. He’s no traitor to his country, and most definitely not under the “acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power” (section 44 of the Australian constitution). Truth is he was let down by a gutless Gillard government and forced into political asylum, under threat of extradition. “I’m safe here inside the embassy walls,” he mocks, “protected by more than a dozen police, including one stationed night and day right outside my bathroom window.”

His eyes twinkle, before laying into those who insist that the federal electoral laws are against him, that he’s ineligible because candidates must already be registered to vote. “That’s untrue”, he notes.“The Act specifies only that candidates must in principle be qualified to become a voter”. Assange is right, but much turns on whether his preferred strategy of registering as an overseas voter will work. He’s been overseas for less than three years (he was last in Australia in June 2010) and intends to return home within six years – that’s why he’s just applied to be on the electoral roll in Victoria.

That leaves two final snags. If victorious, some advisors speculate, Assange might need to take oath before the Governor-General. For this to happen he’d have to be set free, naturally, but it could also be done, “for the first time ever, by video link”. Whatever the situation, continued confinement, he says, would breach the rule that he must take up his Senate seat within two months. “In that case, the Senate could vote to evict me. But that would trigger a big political row. Australians probably wouldn’t swallow it. They’ve learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam.”

In the most recent UMR poll, Assange tells me, around 27% of Australian citizens say they’ll vote for him. That should be enough to slingshot him from the Ecuador embassy to Canberra. I’m naturally curious about the kind of political party WikiLeaks will launch. “The party will combine a small, centralised leadership with maximum grass roots involvement and support. By relying on decentralised Wikipedia-style, user-generated structures, it will do without apparatchiks. The party will be incorruptible and ideologically united.”

I flinch at his mention of ideological unity. He explains that the party will display iron self-discipline in its support for maximum “inclusiveness”. It will be bound together by unswerving commitment to the core principles of civic courage nourished by “understanding” and “truthfulness” and the “free flow of information”. It will practise in politics what WikiLeaks has done in the field of information. It will be digital, and stay digital. Those who don’t accept its transparency principles will be told to “rack off”. That’s the ideological unity bit.

Assange knows his fate will be decided not by legal niceties, or diplomatic rulebooks, but by politics. He’s aware that in the great dramas to come, nothing should be ruled out. Parliamentary politics will involve permanent fire-fighting, but unflappable he sounds. “I’ve had to deal with the FBI, the British press and more than a few rank functionaries. The Australian press are decent by comparison. No doubt the Australian Tax Office will show an interest in our campaign. Old enemies may make an appearance.”

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    • craig2 says:

      06:33am | 18/02/13

      The more I read about him, the less I like about him. He stands for truth and ideology yet he’ll thumb his nose at the law? This 40 yr old man is either delusional or a shallow opportunitist only concerned for his himself. Anybody here on the punch really believe he gives a rats a## about you and I?

    • chuck says:

      07:20am | 18/02/13

      and you think he is worse than Slipper, Xenophon, Thompson, Milne, Hanson-Young, Gillard, Roxon, Abbott etc ??

      PS what about the presumption of innocence ?

    • Aitch B says:

      07:32am | 18/02/13

      @chuck

      Yes… the presumption of innocence before guilt is paramount. Mind you, Gillard threw that tenet out the door early on in the pice when she pronounced him guilty of criminal activity… probably to appease her new buddy Obama.

    • Nostromo says:

      08:27am | 18/02/13

      Anyone in reality-land think that any poli gives a flying fork about anything, other than themselves? Perhaps there are some naive idealists who actually believe they ‘care’ while running for office, & maybe do for the 1st 3-6 mths in office, tops. Then it’s all power trips/brokering & how to get re-elected & secure the uber-pension/super forever. Conscience is no longer a pre-requisite for modern politics - quite the opposite, it’s a complete impediment.

    • daniel says:

      09:59am | 18/02/13

      I guess the difference chuck is that at least Slipper and Thomson didn’t lock themselves up in an embassy to avoid facing questioning and prosecution.

    • K^2 says:

      10:50am | 18/02/13

      No, the difference, Daniel, is that Slipper and Thompson aren’t wanted by foreign governments for “treason” (Which isn’t even possible against any country but your own).  Further to that, wanted on questioning for something he has already faced questioning about, has attempted to make other arrangements to answer, and as an Australian citizen that remains completely at large because of the actions of his own government.  If you think he would be protected by Australia, if and when America get their hands on him, just look at the recent Israel case and think again.  Australian politicians will sell their souls to keep in tight with the US and Israel.  Always have, always will pander to their requests at the expense of any citizen.  There is no parallel to be drawn between Assange, and Thompson/Slipper, but even these two have been allowed to have their day in court and had actual allegations backed by evidence brought against them.  Assange has allegations, with no evidence other than the word of two lilted lovers on what in any other country around the world would be dubious sexual assault allegations.  Now if you think the whole situation doesn’t smell fishy, then you are blinded by propoganda that paints Assange as some kind of lone wolf threat.  Many US politicians were baying for him to be assassinated because of his wikileaks, so he has valid reason to fear false persectution.

    • marley says:

      11:04am | 18/02/13

      @K^2 - I am unaware of any charges of treason being filed against Assange anywhere, either.

      And no, he isn’t wanted for “questioning.”  The UK does not extradite for questioning.  Their highest court has ruled that, given differences between the Swedish and British systems, what the Swedes are asking for is to have Assange returned to Sweden so he can be charged.  They have also ruled that there is a case to be answered.  There are no alternative arrangments possible, because it’s not about simply asking him a few more questions.  And the only reason Assange hasn’t had his day in court is because he refuses to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy.

    • Laura says:

      11:25am | 18/02/13

      @marley, Assange has said on numerous occasions that he’ll leave the embassy & go to Sweden if they’ll give him a diplomatic guarantee he won’t be extradited from Sweden to the US. Sweden can’t/won’t agree to guarantee that he’ll be safe from extradition to the US.

      And it IS just for questioning, formal charges can be laid in accordance with Swedish law, only after extradition and a second round of questioning. Assange still hasn’t even been questioned over several of the claims laid against him.

      Also, questioning people abroad is completely legal in Sweden, Assange has also invited them to question him in the embassy on several occasions.

    • K^2 says:

      11:42am | 18/02/13

      How about you watch this marley - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuQW0US2sJw

      The US has said on many occasions that they want to assissinate him, and that they consider him to be in treason, and a criminal for the wikileaks stuff.  As to the rest of your claims, Laura answered them adequetly

    • daniel says:

      11:46am | 18/02/13

      K^2,

      You’re the exact type of person Assange thrives off and it’s really quite sad. Assange uses his high profile to capture an audience, not for the cause, but for his own personal support. This is demonstrated in your comment:

      “... Assange has allegations, with no evidence other than the word of two jilted* lovers on what in any other country around the world would be dubious sexual assault allegations ...”

      If you acknowledge them as allegations then surely the next step would be to fight those allegations in court and prove the complainants beyond reasonable doubt that they’re “jilted lovers”?

      There are plenty of other Australian citizens around the world who require the assistance of the Australian government.  The difference is that most of them don’t shove their faces in the media to boost their profile to get preferential treatment.

      Furthermore, if Assange truly believed in what he’s done by passing on thousands of confidential documents to the public, and is charged with treason by the US, then he’d not be afraid of putting the cause before himself.

    • egg says:

      12:14pm | 18/02/13

      @daniel, he’s already answered the questions once, and Sweden was satisfied with that. All of a sudden they changed their tune. And he has offered multiple times to answer the questions AGAIN, but Sweden refuses to come to the party unless he leaves asylum and goes to a country well known for palming people off to the US if they ask nicely.

      I think the fact that you still think this is about sexual assault is a bit sad, myself.

    • marley says:

      12:23pm | 18/02/13

      @Laura and Egg - the UK courts have made it clear that there are approving the warrant not because he’s going to be questioned, but because he’s going to be charged. And for that, he has to be in Sweden.  Most of the points you’ve raised have been tested to the highest levels of the British court system, and been rejected.

    • K^2 says:

      12:31pm | 18/02/13

      @Daniel - you are exactly the kind of person the propogandists target.  What’s your point?

      “If you acknowledge them as allegations then surely the next step would be to fight those allegations in court and prove the complainants beyond reasonable doubt that they’re “jilted lovers”?” No Daniel, this is not how law works.  You see we have this system called “the presumption of innocence” you don’t sound particularly familiar with it.  That means those bringing allegation against somebody are left with the burden of proof, not the person being accused having a requirement to prove their innocence (as it is presumed as stated by the tenet of our law).  There are only allegations, there are no formal charges.  He is wanted for questioning, they have opportunity to question and yet have foregone that to only have him present in sweden as once this happens they can obviously have him extradited.  If you think its about sexual assault, you are a fool.  If it is about prove-able assault, then bring the proof, and charge him with something, when there is credible evidence is when he needs to face court, not before, same rule applies to you, and me, and anyone else (except Assange, according to you and others).  You want to cry foul at the breach of law yet seem only to happy to twist it at your own whim.  Good luck with your cognitive dissonance.

    • marley says:

      12:44pm | 18/02/13

      @K^2 - Assange has the presumption of innocence.  That doesn’t mean he can’t be questioned or charged, for heavens’ sake.  Otherwise no one could ever be charged. The Swedish prosecutors have instructed that a warrant be issued, the British have agree to execute the warrant - not very unlike Victoria issuing a warrant for Thomson and NSW executing it.  Assange has made the points you raise to the British courts and they’ve rejected them.  He now has to answer to the Swedish prosecutors.  If there’s no evidence, as you claim, then presumably he will be cleared.

      And I have to ask, if the Americans want to extradite Assange, why would they waste time with Sweden when they can extradite him from the UK directly?

    • DocBud says:

      12:46pm | 18/02/13

      egg,

      No country more happily extradites people to the USA than the UK. If the USA wanted him it could apply to the UK to have him extradited. Sweden would not extradite him if (a) the UK, having extradited him to Sweden, did not give its permission, (b) the offences are political or espionage related, and (c) there is any risk of the death penalty.

      His reluctance to go to Sweden can have nothing to do with a genuine fear of being extradited to the USA so one is entitled to assume that he is trying to avoid the Swedish justice system.

    • Laura says:

      12:58pm | 18/02/13

      Marley, you’re wrong. As was the FCO when they said that he was being ‘charged’, charged does not mean the same under Swedish law as the UK & Australia.

      Formally, “An arrest warrant was issued on the basis that Julian Assange is accused with probable cause of the offences of coercion, molestation, and rape.”

      In the Swedish system, this precedes the opening of a criminal prosecution, which is what “facing charges” would normally mean in English. This is where a lot of people get ‘charges’ and ‘allegations’ mixed up in this case.  He has been accused, and supposedly needs to go to Sweden to answer the allegations.

      Also: “According to Swedish law, a formal decision to indict may not be taken at the stage that the criminal process is currently at. Julian Assange’s case is currently at the stage of “preliminary investigation”. It will only be concluded when Julian Assange is surrendered to Sweden and has been interrogated”

      Thats from Assange’s prosecutor. He flat out says that they want to ‘interrogate’ him. If it’s interrogation, then they can do it in the embassy.

      And finally, his DNA wasn’t on the condom, the two women who accused him only wanted him to be forced to take an STI screen, not to be charged. Swedish authorities dropped the case cold & told Assange he was free to leave Sweden, only to miraculously pick it up again

    • marley says:

      01:40pm | 18/02/13

      @Laura - no, you’re wrong. I didn’t say Assange had been charged; I said he was going to be charged.  Assange’s own lawyers accepted in court that his surrender was sought “for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution.”  Not an interrogation, a prosecution. 

      The High Court considered the point and opined
      that:  “In our view, the terms of the EAW [European Arrest Warrant] as a whole made clear that not only was the EAW issued for the purpose of Mr Assange being prosecuted for the offence, but that he was required for the purposes of being tried after being identified a the perpetrator of special criminal offences.  He was therefore accused of the offences specified in the EAW.  Nothing in the EAW suggested he was wanted for questioning as a suspect.”

      The court concluded:  ““In England and Wales, a decision to charge is taken at a very early stage; there can be no doubt that if what Mr. Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged and thus criminal proceedings would have been commenced.  If the commencement of criminal proceedings were to be viewed as dependent on whether a person had been charged, it would be to look at Swedish procedure through the narrowest of common law eyes.  Looking at it through cosmopolitan eyes on this basis, criminal proceedings have commenced against Mr. Assange.  In our view, therefore, Mr. Assange fails on the facts on this issue.”

      Assange did not raise this issue in his subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court.

      So, the British courts have ordered that Assange be extradited to Sweden to face prosecution.  It is up to the prosecution, not the accused, to decide what the process of that prosecution will be.  And it is up to the Swedish courts, not the British ones, or Assange supporters or enemies, to determine whether the evidence is there to convict him.  But the one legal issue that has been resolved is that the extradition order is valid.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:46pm | 18/02/13

      Curious craig2- what law did Assange break again?

      He is within his rights to publish leaked documents- it is only illegal to LEAK them to begin with (otherwise all Australian newsmedia would be ‘charged’ for reporting the truth too). Everything he leaked was in the public interest or harmless (unless you can show us ONE unecessary, harmful leak)

      The only law he is accused of breaking is a retrospective Swedish law against having consensual sex without a condom, BEFORE said law was actually introduced. (the court already cleared Assange of rape).

      So again, what law did he break?

      It’s always sad to see citizens of a democracy support practices more befitting a dictatorship (because let’s face it, leaking condidential documents makes you uncomfortable- despite the fact our governance relies on people voting for parties that they SHOULD be allowed to know about).

    • Hamish says:

      01:47pm | 18/02/13

      Oh you Assange sycophants are so funny. Seriously, a man who believes in transparency for everyone but himself and justice for all but his victims.

    • Steve of QBN says:

      01:54pm | 18/02/13

      @ K^2

      “No Daniel, this is not how law works.  You see we have this system called “the presumption of innocence” you don’t sound particularly familiar with it.”  The presumption of innocence only exists under English (Australian and US) law.  In other countries (like France), if you have been changed by the police, when you go to court it is under a presumption of being guilty because the police would not have charged you otherwise.  So you have to prove yourself innocent, not the prosecution to prove you guilty.

      And if the US wanted him, they only had to ask the UK government.  Why go to all the trouble of trying to lift him from Sweden?  If the UK extradites him to Sweden, the US cannot ask Sweden to extradite him to them without Sweden first getting permission from the UK government.  So why?  Why do it this way when all they had to do was ask the UK government? 

      They would have said yes.  Hell, they would have dressed him on a GITMO bright orange jumpsuit and done a perp walk onto Air Force One at Heathrow if the US had asked.  But they didn’t.  Why not?

    • egg says:

      02:01pm | 18/02/13

      @DocBud, I fail to see how Sweden would need the UK’s permission to extradite him… how does that even make sense? And yes, the UK also extradite to the US often, which is why he’s seeking asylum in the embassy - so they can’t.

      Sweden has been asked repeatedly to confirm it won’t extradite to the US - they refuse. Sweden can question Assange where he is - they refuse.

      @marley, refer to Laura’s response re: “charged”.

    • marley says:

      02:08pm | 18/02/13

      @A Concerned Citizen - the Swedes intend to prosecute Assange on one count of coercion, two of sexual molestation and one of rape.  He has certainly not been cleared by a court on any of those charges.

    • marley says:

      02:11pm | 18/02/13

      @egg - read the High Court decision.  He is currently accused and will be charged.  And that’s enough to warrant extradition.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:11pm | 18/02/13

      By the way- his ‘victims’ are two jilted lovers who only bothered to press charges weeks after the events, and were quite happy to have breakfast with him. The were promptly rejected by the judge at the time due to lack of evidence (one was alleged to be at a crayfish party the same night, according to the papers).
      It was only when a new law was introduced about ‘broken condoms’ or some rubbish that the legal authorities wanted Assange to stand trial again (despite the law being introduced AFTER the now-crime was ‘committed’.
      That aside, he has no other victims at all- feel free to provide evidence proving this statement wrong.

      Now I suppose, I, being an Australian citizen who enjoys democracy and being informed on election day, show my bias as a beneficiary for the leaks. I suppose everybody in politics who has something to hide from me (but still wants my vote), would be upset by them

    • K^2 says:

      02:13pm | 18/02/13

      @Hamish - his ‘victims’ (which you have no proof of so please use the term “alleged victims”) also stated, on the record, they were not pressing charges but wanted him to take an STD test. Do you have actually any insight or did you just log on to try and label those that dont agree with you as nutters?

    • difficult lemon says:

      02:13pm | 18/02/13

      @ egg “I fail to see how Sweden would need the UK’s permission to extradite him”

      My understanding is (in accordance with EU protocols?) the UK is entitled to rely on the fact that if they agreed to extradite him to Sweden Sweden could not then extradite him to another jurisdiction.

    • Hamish says:

      02:54pm | 18/02/13

      K^2, you are right they are ‘alleged victims’ who are being denied justice by Assange. I’m happy for all the evidence to be presented - in a ‘clear and transparent’ manner - in Swedish courts. Assange’s reluctance to face the music suggests the allegations have more merit than his fanboys generally argue.

    • Chillin says:

      03:04pm | 18/02/13

      31 August, 2010 - Assange was questioned by Stockholm police and released as he had committed no crime.

      Stockholm’s Chief Prosecutors, Eva Finne: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”

      His lawyers:

      “In particular they argued the original police reports showed - contrary to the EAW - absence of alleged rape; absence of alleged force or injury; admission in both cases of consensual sex on the same occasions as the allegations; and splitting of a condom used with plaintiff 1 rather than failure to use one.”

    • daniel says:

      03:04pm | 18/02/13

      K^2,

      Since when did I say Assange was guilty? I also don’t understand why you’d even bother bringing up the argument of “presumption of innocence” when you’re the one who claimed that his accusers were “jilted lovers”. What happened to due process?

      In addition, I haven’t cried “foul at the breach of law” [although one could argue that Assange’s refusal to be extradited to Sweden is in itself a breach of law]. However, what I’m saying and have been is that if he believes in his ideas then he wouldn’t be afraid of being sent to the US.

      At the end of the day, I don’t care if he’s guilty or innocent but what I do care about is him constantly throwing himself in the media to get attention and people such as yourself quickly latching on, holding him up as some idol and demanding he be treated differently to the majority.

      He’s changed the issue from one of transparency and freedom of information to one about him. That’s my problem along with all the hangers on who chime in with the accusations of attempts to silence the rights of citizens who are pushing an particular idea or cause.

      But as I think Assange has let it all become about him rather than the ideas behind WikiLeaks I’m just a target for the propagandists and no doubt one of those right wing extremists.

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      03:50pm | 18/02/13

      @  Concerned citizen if he hasn’t broken any law why will he not return to Sweden.
      Surely if he has no fear of a successful prosecution then it’s not a problem

    • K^2 says:

      04:47pm | 18/02/13

      “At the end of the day, I don’t care if he’s guilty or innocent but what I do care about is him constantly throwing himself in the media to get attention and people such as yourself quickly latching on, holding him up as some idol and demanding he be treated differently to the majority.” - And there it is.  If it was you in the same position, I would be saying the same things, or anyone else.  you just dont like me having my say on it because it is Assange its about, who has been demonised to you systematically by the media.  You wont question that, nay you accept it as gospel, and deride anyone who might stand up for Julian, regardless of the fact it wouldnt matter if it was Julian, or you with the issue the same thing would be said.  I suggest it is you, imposing your own bias rather than everyone else must be fanbois of assange. I dont know him from a bar of soap, nor you, so you are delisional if you think I say anything in his defence simply because he ‘is’ assange…..how petty

    • Roxanne says:

      07:20am | 18/02/13

      I would vote for him anyway.

    • Rose says:

      07:57am | 18/02/13

      I wouldn’t….my vote will go toward some one who at least appears to have Australia’s best interests at heart, not some one who only wants to join the Senate to solve his current legal problems.

    • Tchom says:

      11:11am | 18/02/13

      @Rose

      Do those kinds of politicians exist?

    • Laura says:

      11:55am | 18/02/13

      Ah yes Rose, the altruistic politician. How common they are…

    • Rose says:

      01:22pm | 18/02/13

      I did use the word ‘appears’ to indicate that an altruistic politician may be only an illusion. My point being that my vote won’t go to the guy who is openly using the potential of winning a Senate seat to suit his personal legal purposes. He’s abusing the process before he’s even enrolled to vote, let alone officially registered as a candidate or won a seat…

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      01:52pm | 18/02/13

      I would vote for him too.
      For one thing, he has done me as a voter and Australian Citizen, a FAR greater favor by highlighting the truth in major areas of policy that affect our foreign relations, than every politician who ever joined parliament and the senate in the past two decades did.

      Quite frankly, I would trust a lobbyist for political transparency over the current self-serving lot in the heartbeat.

      Not to mention it would break up the ‘vote for more transparent party’ crowd away from the Greens.
      Surely you people can agree that’s a GOOD thing right?

    • Rose says:

      02:09pm | 18/02/13

      There are a lot of Independents who didn’t get themselves into a mess like Assange did, who have been living and working amongst their fellow Australians who are far more deserving of my vote than he is.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:37pm | 18/02/13

      Rose- you should list these candidates (because I am actually interested in seeing as many candidates who stand for political transparency). As it is I don’t think many people quite have as impressive stances.

      Julian Assange- publishes leaks of scandalous or noteworthy activity to the world- the majority of which citizens of democratic countries who stand to benefit from this information when they vote.

      We have the “Save our Suburbs” party- but they don’t have a federal branch.

      And Ted Mack (by far the most honest and decent man ever to even stand near a parliamentary building) is retired.

    • Rose says:

      03:05pm | 18/02/13

      ACC….I will be looking at my local Independent candidates closer to the election date and will vote according to the impression I get of their policies, their personal attributes and their allegiances. I don’t care as much who they preference (past knowing what, if any deals have been struck and with whom) as I will do my own preferences.
      I would recommend any Australians who give a damn do the same and not follow the scripts of the majors, but you’ll have to do your own homework. There are an awful lot of electorates in this country and I’ll be looking to work out my own voting, not anyone else’s smile

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      03:55pm | 18/02/13

      Let me get this straight with no policy except transparency you would vote for him.

      No fiscal policy
      No growth policy
      No education policy
      No health policy
      No defense policy
      No any policy

      At least Pauline Hanson had a couple of these policies

      It’s so embarrassing for Australia

    • dweezy 2176 says:

      07:20am | 18/02/13

      Where’s Julia when you need her? This bloke is loopy enough for the Labor Party.!

    • marley says:

      07:26am | 18/02/13

      Question:  if, as I understand it, the concept of political asylum is based on the UN Convention on Refugees, then has not Assange stated that he is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of his country of nationality?  If that is correct, then how can he be eligible to vote, never mind run for office, in the country he has rejected?

      Second, what is his platform?  Sorry, but operating is party using digital technology is not a political platform.  Where does he stand on the issues of the day?  How will he vote when it comes to pokies or dams or submarines for the Navy?

    • R White says:

      08:22am | 18/02/13

      Q1 is an nothing but overblown rhetorical flourish. 

      Assange is an Australian citizen. (McClelland 2010 refers). There’s no record of him renouncing his citizenship.

      The qualifications for (and provisions preventing) candidates for election to the Australian Senate are set out here:
      http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/guides/briefno19

      Provided that Assange is an Australian resident and enrolled, or is now resident overseas *and* an eligible overseas elector, then there is no reason he cannot stand as a candidate, and vote in the election.
      Commonwelath Electoral Act Part VII, 93 and 94 refer.
      http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cea1918233/

      His problems are all of his own devising but let us, for goodness sake, keep to the facts.

      There are probably more important electoral issues, though it’d be interesting to hear Antony Green’s views on absent candidacy, and Assange’s stupid position in particular.

    • marley says:

      09:06am | 18/02/13

      @R.White - rhetorical, possibly; overblown, I don’t think so. 

      If Assange is now declaring himself to be an Australian eligible to vote and run for office,then he’s availing himself of the protection of his country of nationality, isn’t eligible for asylum, and ought to have the integrity to walk out of that Embassy.  If he’s not prepared to seek the protection of his country of nationality, then, on moral if on no other grounds, he shouldn’t be demanding the right to run for office in a country he’s abandoned.

    • R White says:

      09:30am | 18/02/13

      Oh please.  “Moral grounds”? More waffle. 

      He’s only just applied to enroll as an elector. Let alone register as a Senate candidate. Let alone raise funds, stand,  etc etc etc .

      We’ll just have to wait and see how the actual facts play out.

      The guy’s a tool, his “organisation” is internally in disarray, and his thought bubble will like as not go splut well before the writs are issued.

      But “Integrity”? “Moral grounds”? Repeated overblown tosh and waffle won’t decide the matter.

      It’ll resolve by due process, in its own time.

    • Anubis says:

      09:32am | 18/02/13

      As a number of legal minds across the world have stated Julian Assange has been technically abandoned by his country (Australia). For you to state that he should avail himself of the protection of his country or nationality does not hold water in these circumstances as that protection does not exist. Australia abandoned him to the wolves, as evidenced by Gillard declaring him a criminal and at no stage retracting that.

    • marley says:

      09:41am | 18/02/13

      @anubis - I’m just talking about what constitutes “asylum,” not about whether he did or did not get adequate protection, but whether he does or does not want it now.

    • marley says:

      09:45am | 18/02/13

      @R. White - mmm, you accused me of raising a rhetorical point, which of course I did, but you appear not to quite grasp what one is.

    • R White says:

      09:59am | 18/02/13

      Thanks all the same for the inaccurate little twist, but I’m happy to stick with “rhetorical flourish”.

      Your remarks are florid. Overblown.  Waffle. Tosh.

      Semantic finger waggings before morning tea? Goodness me, whatever next. I think I need a Tim Tam.

    • AdamC says:

      10:00am | 18/02/13

      Marley, I cannot see Assange walking out of the Ecaudorian embassy into the embrace of the UK authorities any time soon. He has done literally everything he can to escape this Swedish extradition warrant, for whatever reason. I do not like the idea that Assange is using our electoral system for yet another of his narcissistic publicity stunts, but, unless there is some way to legally stop him, we will have to rely on the good sense of Victorian voters.

      Anubis, I do not buy that. Assange could have come back to this country at any time, once he had been questioned in Sweden. Of course, the Americans could seek his extradition from this country, just as they could from the UK. Ultimately, Assange preferred the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy.

    • marley says:

      10:58am | 18/02/13

      @Anubis - I’ve been thinking about whether he was in fact “abandoned” by Australia.  Julia’s silly remarks aside, he was in the UK when the EU arrest warrant was issued.  So it was up to the UK to make a decision on that warrant, and not Australia.  And that decision is a purely judicial one, not a political one:  as I understand it, EU warrants are enforceable unless they violate the laws of the country being asked to execute them.

      Assange had fair access to the British court system and in the end lost his various appeals against the execution of the warrant.  Australia was never in a position to intervene in that judicial process, any more than it has any official standing when our drug smugglers get busted in Asia. 

      So, I’m wondering what, beyond sending him a cake with a file baked into it, Australia really could have done for him.

    • Stephen T says:

      11:37am | 18/02/13

      @Anubis: “ As a number of legal minds across the world have stated Julian Assange has been technically abandoned by his country (Australia).”

      What an absolute load of codswallop, Assange was given exactly the same level of consulate aid as any other Australian citizen would be given in similar circumstances.  As to Australia abandoning him to the wolves, he placed himself in a position by his own actions and transgressions where he is indictable under the law of a sovereign nation.  As Marley has correctly stated if Assange is availing himself of the protection of his country of nationality then he isn’t eligible for asylum, he should leave the embassy and face the outstanding charges against him, the fact that he will not do this says much as to his moral integrity and reinforces the perception that he is afraid of the consequences his past indiscretions will bring.

    • Steve says:

      07:50am | 18/02/13

      He’s still delusional, ego-tripping on the big global conspiracy against him, which proves to him he must be significant - if only in his own mind (and those of his followers).

      He could very well be elected to the Senate, but being an Australian Senator is not some gold-pass to being legally untouchable. The British legal system would be a mockery if it allowed him to leave. 

      And he can’t vote in the Senate by video-link.

      He would be arrested as soon as he steps out the embassy door for the Qantas flight home to take up his seat.

    • iansand says:

      08:15am | 18/02/13

      And if he does not turn up to take his seat he will lose it, if I recall the system correctly.

    • R White says:

      08:31am | 18/02/13

      Correct, Ian

      Loss of place for non-attendance
      [...]
      Senators can also lose their places if they fail to attend the Senate for two consecutive months without permission. A parallel provision applies to members of the House of Representatives (see sections 20 and 38 of the Constitution). These provisions safeguard electors against absentee representatives but have applied only once since Federation (Senator Ferguson, QLD, 1903).
      http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/guides/briefno19

    • Borderer says:

      09:14am | 18/02/13

      The ploy is relatively simple.
      - I need to get the Aussie government to get the English one to call off the dogs.
      - I need to threaten them, since I ‘ve already leaked everything I can only do this by being political.
      - If they let me go back to my happy life of leaking documents and screwing groupies (willing or not) then everyone is happy.

      Assange failed to understand the fundamental part about secrets and that you don’t leak them, at least not all of them, how else do you keep the retribution from getting you taken away tied up in a sack?
      His threat to become political is rather empty and on the backs of conspiracy theorist and hipster fanboys he may actually gain a seat that he can’t hold for the above mentioned reasons. The government have already discredited him enough in the media that he’s no mainstream threat, I mean what’s two more non supporting whinging senators? Will you notice them parked next to the Greens?
      The government can afford to call his bluff, Assange is a victim of his own hubris.

    • Tator says:

      12:00pm | 18/02/13

      One point everyone hase missed is that for Assange to actually become a Senator, he has to be sworn in by the Governor General and I doubt that they would make an exception for Assange to be sworn in whilst holed up in a foreign countries embassy.

    • K^2 says:

      12:02pm | 18/02/13

      @Borderer, I can assure you he hasn’t leaked everything, which is why they want him so badly. He has something he calls “The Doomsday File” which I guarantee you is far more damaging to the corrupt world system than they would like you to know about.  Regardless of who delivers that message, shouldn’t it bear investigation?

    • Borderer says:

      01:20pm | 18/02/13

      @K^2
      Sorry but I doubt it, his actions aren’t that of someone who is in a position of power. He may have some things but nothing substantial otherwise he would have already played that card and the British would have backed off.
      He must be awful at blackmail if his solution to having damning information of sufficent degree as to threaten several governments is to hide in the Ecuador embassy for months or face arrest….

    • John says:

      08:14am | 18/02/13

      Assange is delusional, attempting to “forsee” extremely unlikely events that will allow him to come back to Australia. The man is a joke and completely in love with his own status
      And he is completely wrong about the Australian public. A Wikeleaks party would do unbelievably poorly on election day.

    • lostinperth says:

      08:38am | 18/02/13

      +1
      He lost most the respect he thinks he still has when he chose to run and hide rather then face sexual assault allegations. If he is such a believer in “openness and truth” why not answer the questions and let the truth be told.

      I doubt he will win a seat, and even if he does, it will not guarantee him a “get out of jail free” pass. He doesn’t gain diplomatic immunity. He actually has only 2 choices, face the questioning in Sweden or spend years in a dingy room at a Central American embassy becomimng a non-entity.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:00pm | 18/02/13

      lostinperth,
      Perhaps that’s because those sexual assault allegations had already been CLEARED by a judge, and are only returning because a retrospective law was introduced he could potentially be punished with instead “Surprise sex”.

      If this happened to me, and I was innocent, but were targeted for running a company that published leaked documents, I certainly wouldn’t hand myself in either.

    • marley says:

      02:40pm | 18/02/13

      @A Concerned Citizen - you seem to believe that Assange has been tried and cleared by a court in Sweden. I don’t believe that’s correct.  He was questioned by police and/or a prosecutor, but not charged at the time.  That’s not the same thing as being cleared by a court.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:54pm | 18/02/13

      Marley- his charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.
      And that aside, this charge is now expanded to include a retrospective law.
      With a new prosecutor.

      Again, if I were innocent in this situation, I’d still not hand myself over.

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      04:00pm | 18/02/13

      August 31, 2010
      Assange is questioned by Stockholm police and formally told of the charges against him, all of which he denies as a smear campaign. Swedish prosecutors announce the next day that they are reopening the rape case against him, while the molestation charge will be upgraded to sexual coercion and sexual molestation.

      He then ran!

    • marley says:

      05:54pm | 18/02/13

      @Concerned citizen - you do understand, the charges were dropped by the cops?  He was never “cleared” as you claim he was, by a court.  And it is perfectly reasonable to drop charges against someone because you can’t prove the case, then re-invoke the charges later when you have more evidence.  It’s done all the time here.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:17am | 18/02/13

      He’s using the system against itself, and for that reason alone should be encouraged. 

      I doubt he’ll become part of our government - but I’ll be interested to see how this pans out.

      If the system can’t withstand one smart-arse with a superiority complex, then it doesn’t deserve to stand at all.

    • Steve says:

      08:35am | 18/02/13

      It already withstands about 36 of those in the Senate now!

    • Rodney of Nicholls says:

      08:32am | 18/02/13

      Assange will rise to the rank of hypocrit the moment he enters Australian politics.  All political parties have secrets, so will Assange and his Wikilieaks party.  Plausible deniability is practiced by all politicians and Assange will not be the breath of fresh air that his deluded followers may think him to be.  Better to cut him loose now and save a whole lot of heartache.  The clown isn’t worth it.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:55pm | 18/02/13

      Why not?
      It’s not like we’d have anything to lose if Assange proves himself as corrupt as the people we already have now.

    • Steve of QBN says:

      08:46am | 18/02/13

      “Australians probably wouldn’t swallow it. They’ve learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam.”  Gee Julian, I don’t remember Gough sweeping back into power after his dismissal.  Perhaps I missed that?

      And Julian?  Being an Australian Senator is not proof against arrest, just ask Nick “The Terrorist” Xenophon.

    • Lie Lover? says:

      09:15am | 18/02/13

      Assange is exactly the sort of person we need in the senate. He’s willing to question everything and actually is brave enough to challenge the heavy weights.

      Others in this thread can’t seem to see the obvious bullying and illegal threats that the US poses in this case. That amazes me.

    • marley says:

      09:27am | 18/02/13

      He may be brave enough to challenge the heavyweights, but he’s not brave enough to face due legal process for allegations of sexual assault and rape.

    • TheRealDave says:

      09:43am | 18/02/13

      Please, show us your actual evidence of US ‘iilegal threats’ and ‘bullying’.

      More made up crap to support one ofthe biggest dickheads the internet has thrown up.

    • K^2 says:

      12:33pm | 18/02/13

      TRD no, go look for yourself instead of demanding burden of proof for something you can easily google and find video footage of US senators demanding he be illegally assassinated the words issuing out of their own pie holes on camera on record.

    • DragonsRGr8 says:

      12:45pm | 18/02/13

      Sweden giving no assurance they wouldn’t send him to the USA suggests bullying and illegal threats. Of course Sweden could be like Australia and Great Britain who go all the way with USA before being threatened. Gough Whitlam was the last and probably only Aussie to stand up to the USA when he pulled us out of Vietnam.

    • Diogenes says:

      01:26pm | 18/02/13

      DragonsRGr8
      You mean William McMahon
      18 August 1971  
      The Prime Minister announces the bulk of Australian forces in South Vietnam are to be withdrawn, leaving only a modified training team. The period of national service is reduced from two years to 18 months.
      05 March 1972  
      The last Australian logistic units leave Vung Tau and Australia’s commitment in South Vietnam returns to a training role with the 150-man Australian Assistance Group, Vietnam (AAAGV) and the AATTV.
      02 December 1972  
      Australian Labor Party elected to Government.
      05 December 1972  
      Conscription ends, draft resisters are released from jail and pending prosecutions for draft resistance are dropped.
      08 December 1972  
      Australia’s military commitment in South Vietnam ends, although controversy about the precise end date of the war continues.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:29pm | 18/02/13

      LOL - thatt same old guff? It already got laughed out of the UK courts, the Court of Public opinion and by any sane person who can think for themselves.

      The internet is awesome at revealing the conspiracy theory nutcases;)

      Much like Australia, individual US politiicians can say what they like. Corey Bernadi likens homosexuality to BEastiality - none of which affect Australia’s security, foreign policy, domestic policy, education policy, defense policies etc. Just bewcause he said it as his own comments doesn’t make them Australian policy. Just as something some retarded backwoods US Senator says does not make it US Government policy - no matter how much you want to flop it around.

      And we have to keep pretending that Sweden, the country with the penchant for staying Neutral even in world wars, is just kowtowing to a superpower…...when he is in a country with even friendlier extradition laws and stronger ties to the US…who want to kill him…apparently…..

      You guys keep dishing it up - I need some laughs on a Monday. Julian needs people like you guys to keep beleiving in him! you know - gulliable people wink

    • K^2 says:

      01:44pm | 18/02/13

      Furthermore TRD those statements made in congress, on record.
      You are in denial pal. You demand evidence, then when someone gives it to you you discount it as ravings of some random person who holds no sway.  Clearly it is the mentality and as they are ‘supposed’ to represent the people then clearly the wish of their ‘constituents’  Isn’t that how democracy works TRD or is it just that we can discount whatever we like that doesn’t fit your own agenda or political sway?

    • K^2 says:

      01:53pm | 18/02/13

      @TRD Besides what makes you think I “believe in Julian”?  I just believe in a fair trial.  Not the political biased accusations of some armchair internet forum warrior like yourself espousing his guilt so I should somehow take it as proof positive of his guilt.  TRD You are a tool, so don’t be offended if I dont just take your word for it, or the word of anyone, until he has a fair trial, if you actually have a critical and fair mind you would be of the same position, you are either trolling (poorly) or just so calcified in your world view that you cant entertain the possibility that the accusations might actually be false - or more importantly so inconsequential to the nature of what he has actually revealed you know, actual FACTS regarding the behaviours of world governments?  Speaking of being laughed out of public opinion, I am laughing at your level of ignorance.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:28pm | 18/02/13

      Hey “TheRealDave” you know what also got laughed out of courts?
      The exact case Assange is being retried for!
      Under Swedish Law, Assange committed no crime at all and the judge threw the case out due to overwhelming lack of evidence.

      It was only when Sweden introduced a new “Surprise Sex” law (that now made it illegal to have sex with a broken condom when the other person preferred to have one intact), that Assange was to be retried under the law, despite having (allegedly) committed this crime BEFORE the law said it was a crime.

      Remember- I’m a conservative, I’m not some left-wing hipster. And even I am not entertaining this rubbish about Assange’s so-called “crimes”- and am quite happy he is publishing leaks (which is really what this is all about)- because that is what is supposed to happen in a democracy.

      If you’d rather live in a country where freedom of information is a crime not a right, by all means start packing. I hear China is as ‘safe’ from this kind of thing as they come.

    • JoniM says:

      03:46pm | 18/02/13

      “Assange is exactly the sort of person we need in the senate.”

      Yep !
      About time we had some more gropers back in the Upper House !
      It’s been boring as hell since that transparent Democrat got the arse !

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      04:02pm | 18/02/13

      The case has never been to court how can it have been thrown out of court?

    • Punters Pal says:

      09:16am | 18/02/13

      If 27% of Australians vote for him, like he honestly believes it, I will walk backwards to Canberra.

      Where was that poll taken - inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney? I find this really hard to believe.

    • R White says:

      09:49am | 18/02/13

      For interest, it was a nationwide poll, error margin +-3.1%. Rather ageing data: April 2012

      Oddly enough, it shows his best chance maybe NSW - but he’s aiming for Vic.

      UMR are here: http://www.umr.com.au
      And the survey bumph is here, for anyone that interested:
      http://www.umr.com.au/component/k2/item/download/45

      Me, I don’t take it seriously either. If this has legs at all beyond a PR ploy, I fancy they’ll be doing their dough. Yawn.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:13pm | 18/02/13

      What you are saying Punters, is that only people in the inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney consider political transparency an important issue?
      No wonder we’ve got Gillard as Prime Minister (after axing Rudd) and idiot Tony Abbot in charge of the Libs- everybody else in the country is a moron.

    • Punters Pal says:

      03:11pm | 18/02/13

      @ A Concerned Citizen - what a good and measured response. Just because majority of population in this country doesn’t believe that Julian Assange is some kind of hero, but self promoting, egoistical screw up, it makes us all morons.

      I am happy to suggest your suggestion of “political transparency” is a total nonsense. I am happy for us and rest of the Western World to be transparent, the day Iran, North Korea and Taliban become transparent. You are sad and delusional person and doesn’t sound like you are not concerned over anything other than some half baked greens policies.

    • JoniM says:

      04:02pm | 18/02/13

      Well with that 27% of the vote, he should be aiming higher !
      He’s a good chance of forming the Opposition Party with Green preferences in the House of Reps based on those figures !
      And wouldn’t make a great Opposition Leader with that relentless negativity against everything,  if only he can just ride out the misogyny taunts !

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      04:05pm | 18/02/13

      Not winning the argument Insult everybody else who disagrees with you.

    • James In Footscray says:

      09:31am | 18/02/13

      If Julian was fat and bald no-one would care less what he says or does.

      What about the thousands of genuine political prisoners worldwide, who have real ideas, and who’ve taken serious risks? Where’s the excitement about them?

      And the fact he allegedly assaulted two women seems to add to his dangerous appeal.

      Sick.

    • K^2 says:

      12:50pm | 18/02/13

      James I allege you also assaulted women.  There you go, now you both have assault “allegations” against you.  I of course have no proof.  Seems you and he have a lot in common.

    • Bear says:

      01:25pm | 18/02/13

      I can only think of one other cherub- faced, white-haired little boy so he’s almost unique, so news.

    • marley says:

      02:13pm | 18/02/13

      K^2 - the difference between James and Assange, though, is that James is not being prosecuted for the alleged assault and Assange is.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:50pm | 18/02/13

      Because Julian Assange actually managed to get highly substantial and confidential information worldwide, and furthermore, because I as a voter of Australia stand to benefit off it- just like every other citizen of every other democratic country that got leaked- he has a higher profile among westerners than domestic journalists in thirdworld dictatorships- who are more relevant domestically.

      He could weigh 300kg and it would be no different. He is a higher profile simply because he is relevant to everybody who takes democracy seriously- and not just those trendy socialist teenagers that you seem to obsess about.

      And I can prove it. Assange has wide popularity and supporters worldwide. While anti-western Jihad posterboy David Hicks has ONLY has fellow jihadis, and trendy Australian “socialist alliance” fans for support.

    • Paul C says:

      10:48am | 18/02/13

      Yep, I’ll vote for someone who has enough guts to take on the established parties.  He would be a good thing for the country.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:30pm | 18/02/13

      I agree. He is automatically more credible than all the politicians we currently have serving at the very least- even IF the dubious charges against him held any water.

    • Don says:

      11:28am | 18/02/13

      I am going to vote for Lemmiwinks. That should take care of this fluffball.

    • james says:

      12:36pm | 18/02/13

      He is a crusader for the course of transparency.
      Whoever love democracy should be proud of what he is doing .
      He has the gut to stand up for the course of democracy and transparency.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:37pm | 18/02/13

      you’re being ironic aren’t you?

      ....aren’t you?

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      02:20pm | 18/02/13

      TheRealDave.
      So let’s get this straight- how exactly is democracy supposed to function if we don’t have a free press and political transparency, and thus don’t actually know anything about who we are supposed to vote for?
      What exactly do you call a democracy that makes it illegal to leak important information to the voters?

      Probably not quite like China or Iran yet- but definitely something more like more corrupt countries, like Italy under Berlusconi (who owns most Italian press), than a proper democracy.

      I always despair to see citizens of a democratic country feel insecure about vital democratic stimulus such as freedom of information, and prefer to emulate dictatorships instead.

    • It's so embarrassing for Australia says:

      04:07pm | 18/02/13

      This is nothing to do with free press it’s a stunt to get out of sexual charges

    • nest of spies says:

      12:46pm | 18/02/13

      I can’t imagine the Governor General, Quentin Bryce, a farmers daughter from Illfracome Qld, and the Queens representative, would countenance a swearing in of Assange, while the British Government by it’s own laws, is compelled to arrest him. Seems a convoluted piece of logic. He could to take his chances with Mossad, in order to defect to Israel.  No one will know. Or continue on with the Tim Tams. Another option could be to defect to GB, in an undercover top secret deal with MI6.

    • chuck says:

      03:03pm | 18/02/13

      Thank goodness Julian did take up a part time job with the Mossad he too may be found hanging in a suicide proof room!

    • Ben says:

      04:23pm | 18/02/13

      How much taxpayers’ money was wasted on travelling halfway across the globe to interview a self-opinionated wanker?

    • stephen says:

      04:45pm | 18/02/13

      I’m hoping a servant in that Equadorian safe-house would go and get a Findus frozen dinner for our lad.
      (‘Eat yer supper son, and if yer want another, just tap the table.’)
      And if that don’t send him to the stables I might cook up some of my famous curry rissoles, or even my spag bol - with all the ‘trimmings’
      (He’ll have to get suction tap up his clacker just to clear the air.)

      ps just thought of something ... I reckon the Israelis jailed the wrong fella.

    • Gordon says:

      04:52pm | 18/02/13

      I bet it will have “a small, centralised leadership”. A small, centralised leadership of one. First Citizen Assange.

      This is a good reason for the Govt going full term:  senate candiates need a smaller quota at double dissolutions. please spare us.

 

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