2012-04-18 Christine Assange Demands Attorney General's Resignation

In an emotional ABC radio interview today, Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, has demanded the resignation of Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon.

The demand came after Ms Roxon appeared with other panelists, including WikiLeaks lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, on an Australian political TV show, "Q And A", on Monday 16th April 2012.

Christine Assange says Ms Roxon "has just point blank unblinkingly lied to the Australian people all the way through that Q And A session."

Ms Roxon's appearance on the show was eagerly awaited because since December 2010 there has been almost complete silence on Assange and WikiLeaks from both major Australian political parties. Radio presenter Phil Kafcaloudes replayed the following segment from the Q and A show:

Roxon: "There isn't something at the moment where we can intervene. We've made representations about proper processes, we've done all of the things that you should. He is not in a country that has doesn't have a legal system that operates properly. Ah, even I, as I said at the beginning, think it's an odd process, that you can keep someone detained for this period of time without there being a charge -"

Host: "Have you protested about that?"

Roxon: "We have made our views very clearly known to the - "

Robertson: "Not to the Australian public you haven't."

Roxon: "- to the Americans. Well, I'm here doing an interview today. This is a very public thing to be doing."

Robertson: "Good. What have you said to the Americans?"

(clapping, laughter)

Roxon: "Well we've said lots of things to the Americans."

Robertson: "Have you said we want him to come home first before you try to extradite him for an offence that you claim he has committed outside America?"

Roxon: "As you know, I don't make - Firstly, I don't make a claim about whether he's committed an offence, but other countries are able to make those assertions. If you are in another country or breaking the laws of another country, we have made very clear that we want all of the proper processes to apply. We have made very clear that he's an Australian and he's welcome to come home to Australia..."

Christine Assange began by denying that the Australian government has provided proper representation for her son. She said they did nothing until she stood outside former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's office on a Tuesday, and then a letter was sent out on the Wednesday.

She also denied that Sweden has "a legal system that operates properly".

"Sweden has breached all its own laws on this case from Day One," she said. "And the Australian government has said nothing. Flagrant abuses, abuses of not only police and prosecutorial procedure but human rights as well."

Ms Assange has previously tweeted a lengthy list of over 90 talking points about her son's legal problems, including embarrassing details about the Swedish government's handling of the case.

"Now Nicola Roxon knows full well the list of all the breaches because there was a cross-bench meeting on 2nd March 2011 where all of those breaches were listed by [WikiLeaks lawyer] Jennifer Robinson, in her submission to parliament."

"And just to make sure that they got it, I then emailed it to Nicola Roxon. In fact I emailed all the submissions, the briefs about the illegal breaches, and the politicization of the case, to every MP and every Senator. And Nicola Roxon got it as well."

Ms Assange said that Ms Roxon "has lied, continually, about the breaches."

PK: "Did you get a reaction from Nicola Roxon?"
CA: "Nothing."
PK: "Have you ever had any contact with Nicola Roxon?"
CA: "No."
PK: "Has she ever contacted you?"
CA: "No. No.. In fact they refused to even answer Julian's lawyers' letter for about five weeks, until I started jumping up and down with the media over it."

Ms Assange claimed to have noted "about 18 different lies" from Ms Roxon and cited several of them before the interviewer cut her off:

1. Roxon claimed not to know that it is easier to extradite Julian from Sweden than from the UK. In fact the US-Swedish bilateral treaty includes a Temporary Surrender Regime, which makes extradition much easier, while UK courts and the media are currently in an uproar over several high profile US extradition cases. Greens Senator Scott Ludlum made this very clear to the Australian Senate, but both major parties blocked Ludlum's motion "to at least cut off that particular process".

2. Asked whether the so-called ASIO WikiLeaks amendment "lowers the bar" for Assange to be extradited to the USA, Roxon told the Q And A audience, "No I don't think it does." The amendment significantly expanded ASIO's powers to spy on WikiLeaks and other Australians engaged in activism overseas. Changes to the extradition act have also recently been made by Roxon's department.

Ms Assange noted that US Ambassador Bleich said a week before President Obama visited Australia (16th November 2011) that Australia's extradition obligations needed to be changed. Former Attorney General Robert McLellan was replaced by Ms Roxon less than a month later (14 December 2011).

"The extradition amendments DO impact on Julian," said Ms Assange. "She's lied there again."

3. At one stage (15:50+ mins into the Q and A show) Geoffrey Robertson was discussing the Swedish allegations against Assange when Ms Roxon interjected to state: "he fled from Sweden." Robertson angrily replied, "No he didn't!"

(This erroneous public statement from Roxon follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard's earlier assertion that WikiLeaks was "illegal". Both women are trained lawyers.)

"She said that Julian fled Sweden," said Christine Assange. "Now she well knows that that is a lie. And she also knows that that is what they are doing to smear him. Julian was given permission to leave Sweden by the Swedish prosecutor."

An audience poll during the Q And A show found that 78% of respondent believe the Australian government is not doing enough to support Julian Assange. Host Tony Jones asked Ms Roxon: "Do you want to comment?"

Roxon replied with a nervous laugh: "Not particularly."

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