Julian Assange would lead WikiLeaks ticket in WA Senate byelection
Sydney Morning Herald, November 4, 2013
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will make a second bid for a spot in the federal parliament if a fresh Senate election is ordered in Western Australia.
The WA senate result is likely to be challenged in court after the Australian Electoral Commission revealed last week it has lost 1375 ballot papers between the initial count and a recount.
Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Photo: Getty Images
The High Court sitting as Court of Disputed Returns court could order a new election be held.
Australian Election Commissioner Ed Killesteyn apologised on Monday, admitting there was ‘‘a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt’’ about the outcome of the WA poll after the loss of 1375 votes.
Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich won Senate spots after the recount was called - pushing out Senator Pratt and Palmer United Party’s Zhenya ‘‘Dio’’ Wang.
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.
But the WikiLeaks lead candidate in WA, Gerry Georgatos, says Assange would head the party's ticket instead if a byelection was held.
This would allow West Australians to "remedy the injustice of Julian Assange not being elected to the Senate" in the Victorian contest.
"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 been in the Ecuadorean embassy since June 2012 after seeking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.
He had feared the Swedish proceedings could result in him be extradited to the US, where there has been uproar over the decision by WikiLeaks to publish highly sensitive government cables and documents.
Labor to consider candidates
Labor senate candidate Louise Pratt says her party will have to consider whether to change the order of the Senate ticket in the event of a court-ordered new election in Western Australia.
Senator Pratt had been controversially bumped to Labor’s No. 2 spot on the senate ticket, behind former union powerbroker Joe Bullock.
Confirming she intends to stand again in the event of a fresh election, Senator Pratt said the High Court would have to give parties flexibility over which candidates ran - and in what order - but declined to comment on Labor’s ‘‘internal politics’’.
‘‘It will be a question for the Labor party to resolve, but it is clearly a different race with a lot more focus,’’ Senator Pratt told Fairfax radio.
‘‘It would be a very difficult thing to require all candidates to run again because life circumstances change.
‘‘There would have to be some flexibility about what political parties put forward for any prospective ballot. In some situations they would have to [change].’’
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Julian Assange to contest any fresh WA Senate vote, WikiLeaks Party says, calling out AEC 'discrimination'
ABC News, 4 November, 2013.
Julian Assange will contest any fresh election held for the West Australian Senate, the WikiLeaks Party says, calling the re-count "tainted" and accusing the AEC of discriminating against complainants.
Julian Assange will contest a fresh WA Senate election if one is called
The Australian Electoral Commission today declared the results of WA's Senate election, despite admitting it misplaced more than 1,375 ballot papers.
"I have recommended to our party that Julian Assange contest the WA Senate election as our lead candidate," WikiLeaks Party spokesman Gerry Georgatos said in a statement.
"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.
"I only missed being elected to the Senate by 3,000 plus primary votes. Therefore Julian Assange will be elected."
Mr Assange ran for a Victorian Senate seat in the federal election but was unsuccessful.
He is currently in diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, following the release of a European arrest warrant related to sexual assault allegations in Sweden.
AEC 'discriminated' against complainants
Mr Georgatos said the AEC had discriminated against complainants following the original election, and that the party "cannot condone" the election result if the missing ballots are not recovered.
"If the complaints of other parties and candidates calling for either a delay of the declaration of the result till the missing ballots are found or for the convening of a fresh election are not met by the AEC then the AEC has clearly discriminated," he said.
"It cannot rule inconsistently and indiscriminately - to uphold a protest from two complainants while not upholding protests from other complainants on grounds either equivalent or stronger than the grounds of the first complainants."
The AEC has conceded that the ballot has left a "nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt" in the minds of voters, with Commissioner Ed Killesteyn telling Radio National Breakfast: "The gravity of this situation is not lost on me."
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