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John Shipton delivers triumphant speech at Julian Assange's birthday

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John Shipton gave an emotional speech at the birthday celebration of his son, Julian Assange (Screenshots via YouTube)

A week after Julian Assange’s release from Belmarsh Prison, a boisterous gathering of 200 very happy Assange supporters packed the St Kilda Bowls Club in Melbourne to celebrate Julian’s 53rd birthday on 3 July.

WikiLeaks founder Assange, who was in seclusion still recovering from his ordeal, did not attend.

In his place, his father, John Shipton, praised the supporters for their ceaseless campaigning for Assange’s freedom and congratulated them on their hard-fought victory. Julian Assange, John Shipton said, was in the pantheon of great contrarian Australian journalists like John Pilger and Wilfred Burchett, maverick journalists who should be honoured because they had the courage to reveal uncomfortable truths.

“What's wrong with these people that a slight offence of criticism, and they become vindictive and turn their backs?”

Listen to John Shipton's speech from the victory celebrations at Julian Assange’s 53rd birthday party here.

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

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