The Wikileaks Assange and Democracy Public Forum held at the University of Technology, Sydney on Friday February 17 attracted over 400 people who packed the aisles and spilled out into the corridors.
Chaired by Australian journalist and broadcaster Mary Kostakidis, speakers at the forum included socialist historian Humphrey McQueen, Greens Senator Scott Ludlum, London-based human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Christine Assange, the mother of Julian Assange.
On February 18 Simon Butler of Green Left Weekly reported on the Forum:
"Veteran journalist and former SBS broadcaster Mary Kostakidis chaired the meeting. She told the audience WikiLeaks had won several prestigious awards for excellence in journalism. She said the US government is persecuting WikiLeaks for publishing material that other media outlets have also published. The difference was that WikiLeaks has done it better, she said.
McQueen gave historical examples of how ruling elites have always tried to restrict the public’s access to information, lest they learn enough to want to challenge the social order. He said WikiLeaks’ revelations are dangerous to elite interests because they help educate people about the real nature of society.
Ludlum said he was pleased with the big turnout and denounced the Labor government’s attacks on WikiLeaks and Assange. He urged WikiLeaks supporters to put the pressure on the government to choose democracy and freedom of speech over the US-Australia alliance.
WikiLeaks, a free press publishing and media organisation, has revealed human rights abuses, war crimes and corruption in governments across the world. Yet the US Administration wants to close WikiLeaks down and prosecute its founder Julian Assange. International financial services organisations have blocked payments to WikiLeaks, denying them vital income. The Australian government has failed to take a stand against the political persecution of Assange. Australian Prime Minister Gillard's assertion that WikiLeaks' activities were illegal was proved to be false by an Australian Federal Police investigation.
What does this say about our democracy?
Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens Senator
Christine Assange, mother of Julian Assange
Humphrey McQueen, historian, Australian National University
and WikiLeaks and Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson
Mary Kostakidis, journalist and Australia's first primetime anchorwoman
FRIDAY 17TH FEBRUARY, 2012, 6.00 for 6.30 pm to 8.15 pm
University of Technology, Sydney
Room 13 (Building 2) Entrance level, UTS Tower, Broadway
Please note, there will be a preview screening of clips from an upcoming documentary featuring high profile supporters of Wikileaks and Julian Assange from 6pm.
Presented by the Support Assange & WikiLeaks Coalition with the support of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism and the Stop the War Coalition Sydney.
Gold coin donation | For more information: Anne 0404 090 710 / Helen 0413 381 408