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Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Page: 18


Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (13:36): [by video link] As we see the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and Kabul, the inevitable end of a 20-year conflict and the occupation of a foreign country, it's an opportune time to be reminded about the truth-teller of this war, Australian Walkley Award-winning journalist Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the only source of true factual and verifiable information. There is no doubt that as Australians ask the hard questions—how did we find ourselves in such a crisis; how did things collapse so quickly?—there are no answers. No information is forthcoming, nor has there ever been, reflecting on the last 10 years of hard work that the Greens have done in the Senate asking questions: Why are we there? When are we leaving? What does a withdrawal look like? All we've had for decades now are lies and deliberate deceptions. WikiLeaks has provided the information, the cover-ups, the war crimes, the deceptions, yet Julian Assange languishes in a UK jail awaiting extradition to the country that got us into this mess in the first place, the United States of America. I urge President Joe Biden, at this important time in history, to walk away from your extradition of Julian Assange, the truth-teller in this war of Afghanistan, and make sure that we support whistleblowers and we support press freedoms because they have never been more important than now.