Julian Assange has a well-tweeted and Facebook recommended article in to-day's Oz. Wikipedia says, that like Miss Eagle, Assange is a North Queenslander, a former Townsvillean. Assange notes in to-day's article:
I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.
There is a tendency north of the Tropic of Capricorn to be considered blunt by comparison with the refined manners of Sydney and Melbourne. In that sparsely populated part of the world with lots of clean air and sunshine and tropical indolence, there is a tendency to say things like they are. There is an inclination to openness because life is lived in an open fashion a world away from the anonymity and cloak of secrecy provided by southern cities.
Julian Burnside was asked on Radio 774 in Melbourne this morning whether any other Australian citizen has been treated by its own government as Assange is being treated. Burnside instanced David Hicks. When Burnside was asked this question, my first thoughts were not of Hicks but of someone a generation or so before him - Wilfred Burchett. The Australian Government refused Burchett an Australian passport for many years after he applied for a replacement passport overseas when the orginal appeared to have been lost. By this method, the Australian Government of the day refused Burchett return to Australia.
The Howard Government refused to bring David Hicks back to Australia until political pressure mounted and the smell of Guantanomo began to penetrate mainland USA.
It was a long time between drinks - between the cases of Burchett and Hicks. If the Gillard Government is to treat Julian Assange in a similar manner, then drinks are coming more frequently. In fact, I would suggest that if the Gillard Government acts unjustly and unjustifiably in the controversial life of Julian Assange it will be more evidence that the Rudd-Gillard sequence of Australian Labor Party Governments has become a Clayton's Howard Government - the Howard Government you have when you are not having a Howard Government.
Let's rack up the evidence:
- Continuation and extension of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (The Intervention).
- Continuation of taxpayer funding to rich private schools.
- Continuation of funding to chaplains in supposedly non-religious state schools
- Continuation of cave-ins to conservative pressure groups who never vote for the ALP.
Would Networkers like to add to the list above?
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