Why Julian Assange needs to resign from the WikiLeaks Party to give it a chance of survival

Julian Assange has been caught lying and deceiving the Australian public based on the evidence of former WikiLeaks Council member Dr Daniel Mathews and others. The evidence also points to the fact that Julian Assange or his father, John Shipton, tried to go behind the Council and set up a separate power base.

One Senate candidate in Victoria and 4 WikiLeaks Party council members resigned from the party on Wednesday this week and the whole truth is not being reported. The public statements made by the WikiLeaks Party contradict and do not address in full the statements made by those who have resigned.

So based on the evidence I will tell the facts as stated by others and draw some conclusions. The sad thing is I should not have to draw conclusions as we should all know the truth as the WikiLeaks Party is meant to be an open and transparent party.

The debacle started with disputes over how the WikiLeaks Party preferenced other Senate candidates in NSW and WA. As per usual it is the cover-up that is bigger than the original issue and it is the cover-up that ultimately led to the resignations.

The preferencing debacle

The WikiLeaks Party has a National Council that has oversight and control of the party. Its decisions are meant to be binding for the party to follow. The council had 11 members and now has 7 since the resignations. There are Senate candidates in the states of Victoria (was 3 now 2 candidates), New South Wales (2 candidates) and Western Australia (2 candidates).

The WikiLeaks Party preferenced The Greens below certain other parties in WA and NSW which The Greens took offence. Many WikiLeaks supporters also took offence especially in WA where the Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (he is up for re-election) has been a vocal WikiLeaks supporter. They saw it as betrayal. In NSW a couple of smaller parties who are apparently right-wing were put in front of The Greens which also caused criticism. In Victoria it was fine and in line with the National Council instructions.

The WikiLeaks Party put out a statement saying that the preferencing in NSW was an administrative error and against the instructions that the National Council had issued. The instructions the National Council gave were in part that The Greens should be above the major parties in their preferences.

In WA they gave the following reason for the mistake:

“A confusion has arisen about our preferences in WA because the National Party there, unlike in other states, is an independent small party and is not part of the Coalition. In the last election it received just 3.4% of the vote while the Greens received 14% of the vote. Our WA candidate, Gerry Georgatos, interpreted the Party’s instruction to “place the Greens above the majors” in this light. Gerry Georgatos is a strong campaigner on Aboriginal issues, having completed a PhD on Aboriginal deaths in custody. The fact that this year the National Party’s candidate in WA , David Wirrpanda, is an Aboriginal Australian for the first time in history, was something that Gerry Georgatos states he felt was worthy of acknowledgement.” (Click here to read more)

The Cover-Up

On Wednesday the (21/8/13) the WikiLeaks Party announced an independent review of the preferencing mistakes and put out a statement which said:

“The WikiLeaks Party is today releasing, because of its commitment to transparency, the emailed instructions sent last Friday evening to Party members involved in organising the lodgement of Group Voting Tickets (‘GVTs’) for each of the states in which the Party is running candidates – New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The Party is also announcing it will hold an independent review into the preference communication and GVT compilation processes. If necessary, the Party will also issue instructions to its members and supporters in the states concerned, on how to vote below the line.” (Click here to read more)

As it turns out the “independent review” was a lie and which ultimately led to the resignations.

Not only was the independent review a lie but also either Julian Assange or his father John Shipton approached other staff and tried to set up a separate power base to go behind the Council’s back as far as decision-making is concerned. I draw this conclusion based on the fact it is only Julian or Mr Shipton acting on Julian’s behalf that I believe who would have the power to do so.

I do not believe anyone else would have the courage to try to go behind Julian’s back and if they did I would expect that they would have been sacked. Since no one has been sacked I assume it was Julian or Mr Shipton. This is also supported by the statement of Dr Daniel Mathews which is later in this post where he says “a divide started to appear between an insider group, including Julian, John and Greg, and the rest of the National Council.”

The resignations and public statements

On Wednesday the party’s number two Senate candidate in Victoria, Leslie Cannold resigned and published a statement and not long after others resigned including 4 members of the WikiLeaks Party council.

Those being National Council members Sam Castro, Kaz Cochrane, Luke Pearson, and Dr Daniel Mathews, as well as Sean Bedlam, social media captain and David Haidon, Victorian volunteer Coordinator. They issued a joint statement which was similar to Leslie Cannold’s and said in part:

“To be a serious political contender, The Wikileaks Party must be what it claims to be: a democratically run party that both believes in transparency and accountability, and operates in this way.”

“Over the last few weeks, those of us resigning and others have been struggling to make this true. Amidst vigorous debates over preferences, there have been consistent challenges to the rights of the National Council, the 11 person democratic governing body of The Wikileaks Party. The job of the Council is to make democratic, transparent and accountable decisions.”

“We are concerned that where disagreement exists with the decisions Council makes, these have been white-anted and resisted, forcing Council to re-affirm these decisions and assert their right to make them.”

“The failure in WA and NSW for the National Council’s instructions for the Group Voting Tickets to be implemented exposed problems with the capacity of the party to sustain its democratic processes. Several within the National Council called for an immediate and independent review of this process, which was opposed by some National Council members, candidates and staff.”

“Despite this resistance, and after days of battle, this morning a review and a commitment to make the results transparent was announced.”

“Today, after hours of soul-searching, we decided that we would battle on. How else could we ensure the review had proper terms of reference and that the results were produced expeditiously and released to the public?”

“But then, an attempt was made to go outside the party’s formal structures, denigrating the Council and attempting to set up a parallel group taking direction from other than the National Council. The consequence of the proposal was that the National Council and other managers would be bypassed. Further, the independent review would be delayed until after the election and would not be done independently.”

“This is the final straw. As long as we believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party we were willing to stay on. But where a National Council member begins openly subverting the party’s own processes, and asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, this is not an acceptable mode of operation for any organization but even more so for an organization explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.” (Click here to read the full joint statement and Leslie Cannold’s statement)

Sadly they did not give as much detail as one would have liked and expected but Dr Daniel Mathews did go a lot further on his blog in his own resignation statement where he said:

“National Council meetings have been held at least weekly for several months. Until last Friday, Julian had attended precisely one meeting. He is extremely busy, of course, and has many important things to do. Helping Ed Snowden is surely more important than attending a council meeting. But still, attending 1 out of the first 13 National Council meetings of the party (all of which he could call in to) is a fairly low participation rate in one’s own party, for a man confined to an embassy equipped with a telephone.”

“On 6 August, at a National Council meeting, Greg Barns proposed a deal with a group of small parties, organised by Glenn Druery. It is of course his job to talk to other parties and I have no doubt he has worked hard and honestly to do his job throughout. This group, including several far right parties, proposed to deliver 7%-9% of the vote to us if we preferenced them all highly. The National Council rejected it.”

“At all meetings on preferences, Greg Barns spoke repeatedly of his conversations with Julian, but it seemed to me that much less communication apparently occurred between Julian and the National Council. As such, in my view, a divide started to appear between an insider group, including Julian, John and Greg, and the rest of the National Council.”

“Julian, John, Greg and others, with various degrees of enthusiasm and qualification, were in favour of concluding preference deals with parties that might not otherwise preference us, such as the Christian right and the Shooters & Fishers. They thought it was the only way to win, and they were prepared to do deals with those parties. They argued, roughly speaking, that the average punter cares nothing about preference deals, the impact on primary vote will be minimal, and only with the extra preferences will we be able to get over the line.”

“Several on the National Council, including myself, were concerned to maintain the integrity of the party, concerned for the effect on our membership, volunteers and activists of damaging deals, not to mention the compromises we were making ourselves.”

“At a National Council meeting on 12 August, there was spirited argument between Greg Barns and several members of the National Council regarding a deal with Family First. As part of its decision at that meeting, the National Council requested Greg to provide certain information.”

“Although Julian had not attended the meeting, after receiving the council’s resolution by email he quickly wrote a long email entitled “NC micromanagement of preferences”, in which he expressed his displeasure with the council in making such requests, and proposed an alternative structure for preference decisions. Negotiations would be done by lead candidates, with no restraints on them, and Julian having a right of veto. He proposed giving the National Council a role in rubber-stamping the results of this process.”

“Thus, one member of the national council was proposing to grant themselves a right of veto and to reduce it to a rubber stamp. Given the eagerness of some to pursue deals even with the far right, I and several others on the National Council were keen to retain the National Council’s role in these important decisions.”

“I told the Council that the party could have been set up autocratically, but it was not set up that way. It was set up with a reasonably democratic structure, with a governing council with membership and representation from various sectors supportive of, and related to, Wikileaks. If it could be overridden by the lead candidate when he disagreed, it would be a sham. This received the support of several others on the council, and it thus appeared that the Council would not be reduced to a sham.”

And later in his statement: “Nothing further was heard until Sunday, when I woke up to find that the WLP ticket in NSW had the Shooters & Fishers — and the Nazi Australia First party! — above the Greens. In WA, the Nationals were above the Greens.”

“I was dumbstruck.”

“Over the next few hours, social media exploded with outrage — in my view, much of it justified. Supporters melted away. Our base evaporated. The view within the party that preferencing the far Right would not lead to any mass outrage, but that average punters couldn’t care less about preferences, was comprehensively demolished by the course of events.”

“Members resigned en masse. Volunteers and Volunteer coordinators were heartbroken and could not bring themselves to work for the cause to which they had previously devoted themselves selflessly.”

And “The instructions were worded to put “Greens first of major parties”. Gerry, the WA lead candidate who was entrusted to fill in the remaining details of preferences, does not think the WA Nationals are a “major” party. He says he checked to confirm the Nationals were not to be understood as a “major” party. The National Council, however, was not asked to confirm.”

And the Julian Assange Lies:

“The final straw for me was Julian’s explanation of the fiasco on Triple J hack on Tuesday night — after a full day of frantic communication within the party, including to his inbox.”

“He said the following, in flagrant contradiction of everything that had been happening within the party, going to him and his inbox.”

“There was a decision that preferences would be done by the states, by the candidates in the states.”

“This is wrong. Preferences decisions were made by the National Council and were binding on the party. It was only in Julian’s proposal that candidates were given free rein over preferencing — and that proposal also gave Julian veto power and reduced the National Council to a sham, and was rejected.”

“In WA there’s no decision to preference the nationals ahead of Scott Ludlam. There was a decision to preference a new entrant into the WA political field, an Australian Aboriginal, who happens to be a member of the National Party, and to symbolically, I suppose, display him in the preference list…  Where possible, where we see shining stars in individual parties, like Scott, or this guy from the Nats, we should individually preference them higher.”

“This might be interpreted as a poor excuse, but it is also wrong. It was not just the Aboriginal Nationals candidate referred to, David Wirrpanda, who is above Ludlam. Both Nationals candidates are preferenced, as are the candidates of several other parties.”

Dr Daniel Mathew’s resignation statement is a fascinating read and well worth the 5 minutes to do so. (Click here to read his statement) He is the only one who resigned who came close to being fully transparent and should be congratulated in doing so. His statement has even been republished in full on the UK’s The Guardian website (Click here), so there is no hiding from the truth.

Summary Judgement

As far as the way the WikiLeaks Party preferences go I could not care less and I wrote a post last year titled “Bob Brown and the Greens prostitute their soul and integrity and use WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for some free PR.” which did not go down well with some. (Click here to read)

The cover-up on the other hand is a disgrace and casts a long dark shadow over the honesty and integrity of all WikiLeaks Party Council members. They need to rectify it and come clean and tell the truth.

The WikiLeaks Party started self-exploding last Sunday unknown to me and I recorded an interview with the NSW Senate candidate Alison Broinowski on Monday. (Click here to view) I did become aware of the controversy before I published the interview on Tuesday but thought it would die down which it probably would have once they announced the internal review on Wednesday. By Wednesday night I read about the cover-up and resignations and it became clear the party was in a lot of trouble. Since then all they have done is stick their head in the sand.

This is not the first time Julian Assange has had a falling out with supporters, in fact he has had many, although this is by far the biggest given it covers thousands of supporters. One supporter Jamima Khan wrote an article in February 2013 which I regard as being very fair and balanced and in line with this sites position. She wrote:

“The problem is that WikiLeaks – whose mission statement was “to produce . . . a more just society . . . based upon truth” – has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.” (Click here to read more)

This is site has no “cultish devotion” to anybody and a lot of the Assange / WikiLeaks supporters don’t either which he seems to have misunderstood or to arrogant to have noticed. This site has written a number of posts in support of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks (click here), but that covers only certain elements and does not mean I support everything they do.

Almost all politicians lie to the Australian public on a regular basis which is not acceptable. It is even less acceptable when Julian Assange is running for the Senate on a platform of honesty and transparency. Assange needs to fall on his sword and resign now if the party is to have any long-term future, otherwise the WikiLeaks Party will be gone not long after the election. If Julian Assange fails to resign he is failing his own accountability, honesty and transparency test. By resigning he at least allows the WikiLeaks Party to take the moral high ground to some degree. His father John Shipton has to go as well so there is a clean break and overcome any perception that Julian is still controlling the party.

Crisis management 101 says that when allegations are made publicly you need to deal with them ASAP and in the public arena. The WikiLeaks Party have failed to address the allegations made by Daniel Mathews and other former council members who have resigned which one has to conclude is because they are true and accurate.

There seems to be a viewpoint within the Party that if they ignore it then it will go away. Well it will not go away in the online world and for the WikiLeaks Party to think it will is amazing given their online background. This will also impact at the ballot box.

I said in the last post I will be voting for the WikiLeaks Party and probably still will as I am in NSW and the lead candidate is Kellie Tranter and she has some form on the board. (Click here to see her site) But I will do so with the eyes wide open now knowing that the WikiLeaks Party will lie, deceive and act in a dishonest manner the same as other political parties.

Update 25/8/13: I have just found this post which says: “Former Wikileaks Party staffer says Assange’s father was the “caller” that led to resignations” (Click here to read the post)

Admin: Everything going to plan I will publish another video during the week. A little bit of activism this time which is something new, but where this site is heading.

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11 replies »

  1. In my humble opinion,Julian Assange should come out of the foreign embassy and pay back to the people the 3 million pounds he took from them and violated his bail. He then should make ammends for all the trouble he has caused to the British authouroties then go off to Sweden to clear his name on the rape charge after all he is innocent. The case of the American charges he should front up to them and clear his name. The next step would be withdraw his application for the senate,we have enough loose cannons in the Australian government already. We do not need a man of his calibre to represent us in our senate. After all he is on the world stage and if innocent should not fear any pursecution. Allan Usherwood from Myalup.WA

  2. It’s Greg Barnes you need to be looking at. Who is he really, and what is his form with regard to constantly getting involved in these small groups? Is he really there to help or is he there as an Agent Provocateur to wreck these things? 😉

  3. Well it is incredible the party was ever registered. Any elected politician has to sign the Official Secrets act, as anyone employed by the government. I was a temporary political officer for a politician back in the early 1990s and I had to sign one, like most public servants do. How would Julian Assange rate ‘if’ he was elected, holed up in a foreign embassy with criminal charges waiting to be heard, and he rejected a high court decision to send him to Sweden. Gosh we don’t need this type of person or his party.

  4. “The cover-up on the other hand is a disgrace and casts a long dark shadow over the honesty and integrity of all WikiLeaks Party Council members. They need to rectify it and come clean and tell the truth.” The ones who resigned have honesty and integrity in bucketloads. that is why they resigned. and they have told the truth. how much more uncovering do you need?

  5. I did want to vote wikileaks for the Senate but I won’t. They are as deceitful as any other political party.

  6. This comes as a big disappointment to me but is not entirely unexpected. WL has always been a political organization and this kind of thing seems part and parcel of the system.

    When I cast a valid vote I always vote under the line so that I can control where the preferences go. This time however I will cast an informal vote because I have no confidence in any of them.

  7. Shane, The illusion of Power makes many a brave man mimic the devil he fights.
    I find it a great shame that what was to be an open and honest Political Party has succumbed to the dark side of deception and greed.
    It makes one harbor thoughts of internal rebellion and a desire to with draw from the games they play.
    But if not for the One, who then would go forward to present the case for freedom, democrocy, and the Australian Way?

  8. I can’t stand the Greens. I like the ideals of the Wilileaks party ‘justice of the left and freedom of the right’ If Wikileaks party is going to progress it needs to purge its Green infiltration and become its own identity and live up to its Ideals.Freedom of the right is complete opposite to Green Ideals

  9. If Wikileaks has Ideals from Left and Right of course it will preference Right wing parties like Fishers and Shooters as it would preference Left wing parties. Why do the Greens think they should get all the prefernces? They don’t own Wikileaks!

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