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Assange: Albanese must act where the Coalition failed

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A decision from the UK Home Secretary on Assange's U.S. extradition is yet to come (Image by Jose Mesa | Flickr)

The Morrison Government failed Julian Assange. Supporters of the persecuted publisher are looking to Anthony Albanese to make good on his statement that "enough is enough", writes Dr John Jiggens.

AFTER 20 APRIL, when a UK court formally approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, mainstream media presented a narrative that claimed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel would have until 31 May to rubber-stamp Assange’s extradition.

That date has now come and gone and we still await Patel’s decision.

But is this all there is to it?

The victory of Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party in the Australian Federal Election has brought new hope to supporters of the Australian publisher.

Last year, our new Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus issued a statement saying that Labor wanted the Assange matter brought to an end. His leader, our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, said he couldn’t see any purpose in keeping Assange in gaol, stating “enough is enough”.

In the first week of the Albanese Government, the ABC reported:

'Mr Albanese is also a signatory to the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign petition.'

However, the ABC gave no source for this claim. (The Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign petition –'Free Julian Assange, before it's too late. Sign to STOP the USA Extradition'  – is an online petition that has now garnered over 715,000 signatures.)

Phillip Adams – not the popular ABC Late Night Live host – who originated the online petition, this week published an update stating firstly that he was not the source of the ABC’s information, but then added, rather coyly, that the ABC report gave him 'great confidence' that the campaign had 'turned a corner' and had brought a smile to his face.

That smile no doubt broadened when PM Anthony Albanese replied to a question fromThe Guardian, which asked whether it was now his position that the U.S. should be encouraged to drop the charges against Assange and whether he had made any such representations to the U.S. Government.

Albanese replied that it was his position that "not all foreign affairs is best done with the loudhailer".

So, there is still no confirmation that Anthony Albanese signed the online petition. Although, signing a petition which would ultimately go to himself (as the PM) seems an odd way for  Albanese to indicate his support for Assange when he could have joined the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign parliamentary group. That certainly isn’t a loudhailer approach.

The battle to stop the extradition of Julian Assange hangs, intriguingly, in the balance.

Dr John Jiggens is a writer and journalist currently working in the community newsroom at Bay-FM in Byron Bay.

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