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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Page: 1462

Mr DANBY (9:39 AM) —Twice I have been named on the front page of the Melbourne Age in their so-called WikiLeaks special reports. On neither occasion did Philip Dorling, the journalist, or his editor, Paul Ramadge, give me a chance to comment on these articles. This is surely a breach of journalistic ethics, and occurred even though I know Philip Dorling very well. Some American diplomat was reported in one of these leaks that I disagreed with former Prime Minister Rudd on asylum seekers. I do not resile from those views at all. In fact, they were reported on the front page of the Age at the time—some revelation, some secret!

WikiLeaks is a mixed bag. No-one supports the jailing of Julian Assange. Certainly I agree with American Ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich, that the exaggerated claims of certain people in the United States calling for Assange to be charged with treason and executed are of course ridiculous. But WikiLeaks has a mixed effect. Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader, had a leak released on him of an anonymous diplomat in Singapore confirming the allegations of sodomy against him. That was of no help to the democratic movement in Malaysia. Similarly, in Kenya there were a large number of deaths as a result of a WikiLeaks revelation.

It is very instructive for people who are interested in civil liberties and support human rights that Julian Assange has fallen out very strongly with the Guardian and the New York Times over some of his activities, which are not all in the direction of supporting human rights or civil liberties. He likes to portray himself as a lonely anarchist warrior, a fighter for transparency and human rights, but in my view he is more Bazza McKenzie than Bakunin. He gave an extraordinary interview to British television the other day. When asked about why the women in Sweden had taken up these charges against him, he said, ‘They got in a bit of a tizz when they discovered that I was double parking.’ What kind of a person would say something like that on British television? It disgraces all Australians and makes people think that Australian men have such sexist views. I think the bloated barristers and paid agents he has got on television screaming with hysteria about him being extradited to the United States are saying what you would expect people who want to fatten their cheques to say.

On examination, WikiLeaks is a mixed bag. It is good that we are aware of some of the issues that have been revealed, but the revelation of individuals involved and the jeopardising of individual people’s security and privacy is something we have to balance against that. There is a very brilliant paper written by Goor Tsalalyachin on WikiLeaks and national security for the Henry Jackson Society and I would recommend that any serious person who wants to examine the overall effect of WikiLeaks look at that. (Time expired)