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Assange to run for Senate seat

Date

Philip Dorling

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has confirmed his intention to run as a Senate candidate in the 2013 federal election and will announce the formation of a WikiLeaks political party early next year.

Nearly six months after he sought political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy, Mr Assange doesn't expect his circumstances to change soon.

Although he thinks it ''inevitable'' that the United States government will eventually drop its espionage investigation into WikiLeaks, he fears it may be several years away.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Assange suggested the court-martial of alleged WikiLeaks source US Army Private Bradley Manning in March would reveal how US prosecutors ''may have framed a case for conspiracy between … Manning and myself.''

''Getting the US investigation dropped, that is our No.1 priority,'' he said. Mr Assange said plans to register an Australian WikiLeaks party were well advanced.

He indicated he would be a Senate candidate, and said ''a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public'' would stand for election on a party ticket.

Mr Assange said he could fulfil the requirements to register as an overseas elector in New South Wales or Victoria.

Mr Assange's father, John Shipton, has co-ordinated preparations for a WikiLeaks party, and a draft of its constitution has been subjected to legal review. Registration of the party with the Australian Electoral Commission would require confirmation of 500 members listed on the electoral roll.

Mr Assange hopes WikiLeaks' internet presence, which includes nearly 1.7 million Twitter followers and a Facebook page with more than 2.1 million ''likes'', and the formation of ''friends of WikiLeaks'' groups would mobilise Australian supporters.

He said the party would advance WikiLeaks' goals of openness in government and politics, and oppose growing intrusions on individual privacy.

If Mr Assange were elected but unable to return to Australia, a nominee would occupy a Senate seat.

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