WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Thursday officially launched his political party to contest Australian elections this year.
Assange said the WikiLeaks Party (WLP) would field seven candidates for upper house Senate seats in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.The 42-year-old Australian will run in Victoria, saying he planned to be an independent scrutineer of government activity.
"WikiLeaks Party's core values of transparency, accountability and justice are the template against which we will examine any important issues for Australians: tax reform, asylum-seekers, climate change policy and more," he said in an opinion piece in an Australian newspaper The Age
"Putting the WLP in the Senate is the same as putting Australia's best investigative journalists in the Senate, that is what the dishonest Canberra establishment fears most," he said.
"We will not accept legislation or government policy that is based on inaccurate, poorly disclosed or inadequate information. In this way our positions will always reflect fairness, good government policy and practice, and protecting the interests of all Australians."
Australia is due to go into the polls before the end of November with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor up against the Tony Abbott-led conservatives. Opinion polls suggest Abbott will narrowly win.
Papua New Guinea
A key plank of Rudd's re-election campaign is a hardline response to deter boatpeople, announcing last week that all unauthorised arrivals would be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment. They will be either settled there, sent back home or shipped to third countries.
Assange said one of his party's first actions would be to demand full details of the government's arrangement with PNG to be made public.
Spokeswoman for the WikiLeaks party, Samantha Cross said told The Age that Assange stressed how the party 'would keep the bastards honest' and said that he wants to be back in Australia to take up his seat.
Assange has been living inside Ecuador's embassy in London since June 2012 as he fights extradition from Britain to Sweden, where authorities want to question him over alleged sex crimes.
He believes that if he wins a seat in the Australian election, the US will drop its grand jury investigation of diplomatic memo leaks and Britain will follow suit. The UK refuses to grant Assange safe passage out of the country for now and Australia has been outspoken about his whistleblowing activities.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies