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WikiLeaks loses more members, throwing party -

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SCOTT BEVAN: The WikiLeaks Party is leaking key members, tossing it into turmoil. A member of the party's internal governing council has resigned via a lengthy and blunt essay.

The WikiLeaks Party was already in disarray after the resignation of one of its Victorian Senate candidates, and a controversial preference deal, which saw 'far right wing' parties preferenced over the Greens.

WikilLeaks national council member Daniel Matthews has called the campaign a "fiasco", and described the internal democracy of the WikiLeaks Party as a "sham".

Mr Matthews didn't hold back in criticising his long time friend, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and contradicted many of Mr Assange's explanations of the preference deals.

Will Ockenden reports.

WILL OCKENDEN: The wheels are falling off WikiLeaks’ first foray into politics.

Seven members have so far resigned over the party's bungled preference deals, which included the right-wing Shooters and Fishers Party and the anti-immigration, nationalist Australia First Party.

One of its star recruits, Dr Leslie Cannold, resigned yesterday and says that for a party built on the foundations of transparency, the party's governance is anything but.

LESLIE CANNOLD: The democratic outcomes, so decisions are being made by the national council, so that's the governance body of WikiLeaks, but they're not necessarily happening on the ground and I guess the most visible example of that was what happened with our preferences.

So the national council directed and it was a very long, difficult discussion ending with a 12 hour meeting and made very clear what it wanted in terms of preferences but only in Victoria was that the outcome. On the ground in New South Wales and in WA, that didn't happen.

WILL OCKENDEN: She says four members of the party's internal governing body, the national council, two senior volunteers and herself have quit, and there may be more.

LESLIE CANNOLD: I think there's some very serious problems and that's why I felt like I had to resign.

WILL OCKENDEN: WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has dismissed the controversy as "teething problems".

JULIAN ASSANGE: I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation and trying to save the life of a young man. The result is over-delegation so I admit and I accept full responsibility for over-delegating functions to the Australian party while I try to take care of those situations. It's not easy obviously being a party leader at a distance with a nine hour time delay.

WILL OCKENDEN: Some view this as a normal situation for a man known for his desire to control the message. It's a desire that's seen him fall out with many others over the years.

He lost the support of members of the hacking collective Anonymous, who labelled the way he works as the "One man Julian Assange show."

But for a man who built his profile by leaking dramatic government secrets, as party leader he's found himself in an uncomfortable position.

JULIAN ASSANGE: From my perspective, with something serious, you speak to the party leader about it before you speak to the press.

WILL OCKENDEN: Sorting it out with authority before going to the media is not exactly a core belief of WikiLeaks. This is the same organisation which was responsible for the release of the world's largest cache classified material, when it published more than 250,000 diplomatic cables.

Another founder of WikiLeaks, Daniel Mathews, was until recently a member of the national council. He resigned this morning, launching a scathing attack on the party's governance.

He says the final straw was this comment on Tuesday by his long term friend, Mr Assange.

JULIAN ASSANGE: There was a decision that preferences would be done by the states, by the candidates in the states.

WILL OCKENDEN: Daniel Mathews says those claims about preferences were wrong and the internal democracy of the WikiLeaks Party is a sham.

Many of his parting comments and observations mirror those of recently departed Senate candidate, Dr Leslie Cannold.

SCOTT BEVAN: Will Ockenden reporting there.