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WikiLeaks: A leaky boat?

August 30, 2013 by Bargoleon Sensible in News with 15 Comments

The WikiLeaks Party ‘was never meant to be a front for [The Greens]’, Julian Assange said from London yesterday, in an interview with AAP*.

They have certainly proved that with their Senate preference allocations.

In Victoria, where Assange is running a tightly-fought contest for the sixth Senate seat against The Greens’ Janet Rice, the fledgeling WikiLeaks Party has preferenced the Pirate Party, Animal Justice Party, Sex Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Drug Law Reform Party and the Australian Democrats above The Greens, who are nearly at the bottom of their list.

While none of these parties is likely to win the seat, their own preferences could become crucial.

The parties WikiLeaks preferenced above The Greens have also sent their preferences back to WikiLeaks, above The Greens, despite the fact that the WikiLeaks Party’s National Council voted against doing any deals for preferences.

Resignations

Leslie Cannold, second on the WikiLeaks ticket in Victoria (behind Julian Assange), and party members including Daniel Mathews of the National Council resigned as a result (here is Leslie Cannold’s and here is Daniel Mathews‘).

Dr Cannold said on her Facebook page that the party was riddled with “internal corruption” and that she no longer trusted it to act democratically.

‘Administrative error’

The preferences that were put in to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) were not the preferences Mathews and other members of the WikiLeaks Party’s National Council had agreed to. WikLeaks said this was an ‘administrative error‘, in an apology to its supporters on its Facebook page.

Error or not, once the preference allocations went to the AEC, they were set in concrete. A source from the WikiLeaks executive told this writer that there were questions as to whether this was a genuine error, or a way of getting past the National Council’s decision not to do deals with other minor (especially far right-wing) parties.

Western Australia

In Western Australia, the six Senate seats currently up for re-election are likely to fall as they usually do: three to the Coalition, two to ALP, and one up for grabs. The incumbent in this last seat, Scott Ludlam of The Greens, may have an anxious wait ahead of him.

Ludlam was one of Julian Assange’s most vocal supporters, and it was widely believed the Greens could trust WikiLeaks to be sending their preferences his way. Instead, WikiLeaks have officially preferenced the Australian Sports Party, Animal Justice, Australian Democrats, and more tellingly, the Nationals, above the Greens.

And… all these parties have preferenced WikiLeaks above The Greens.

Senate control to Abbott?

The Nationals’ David Wirrpunda does have a chance to win the Senate spot ahead of the Greens, according to Professor John Phillimore from the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy. This could conceivably give control of the Senate to Tony Abbott.

Gerry Georgatos is the man heading the WikiLeaks ticket in WA, and was influential in allocating preferences.

Bid for Senate

This is not the first time Georgatos has made a bid for the Senate.

In 2009, he was a member of the WA Greens, and sought pre-selection for WIllagee, the seat of the former premier, Alan Carpenter.

He was initially endorsed in Willagee, then, after the nominations were re-opened, disendorsed via the usual democratic process, in favour of Hsien Harper. Georgatos did not take kindly to this, and subsequently campaigned as an independent against his own party’s candidate. As a result, he was asked to resign.

In 2010, he moved on to head a ticket of the Ecological & Social Justice Aboriginal Party (ESJAP) which included well-known WA Indigenous rights campaigner, Marianne Headland Mackay, and a Nyoongar elder, Dr William Hayward.
Despite running on a platform proclaiming the need for more Indigenous voices in Parliament, Georgatos insisted that he be first on the ticket, ahead of Mackay and Hayward.

This caused much distress at the time, according to another candidate on the ticket, Lara Menkens, but Georgatos refused to give up his number one spot for either of the Indigenous candidates.

Now, Georgatos is running again, this time on the WIkiLeaks Party’s ticket. And, again, there has been disruption in the camp of the party he is using to mount his effort to gain parliamentary legitimacy.

The comments on WikiLeaks Party’s Facebook page are full of plaintive cries re the preferencing debacle, such as: “This is an absolute betrayal” … “Explain the ideology behind preferencing ACTUAL fascists ahead of Greens?” …”Why did your Senate candidates lie last week and say your preferences weren’t decided?” … “Dear Wikileaks Party..Give your preferances to the Greens..They have being very vocal in support for Assange..”

The morning after

As things look at the moment, control of the Senate could come down to how the smaller parties have allocated their preferences. With WikiLeaks looking increasingly unstable in their internal structure, many who were looking to vote WikiLeaks are now either choosing the Greens as their primary vote, or face the daunting task of numbering each one of the 70+ squares below the line.

A senior politician told this writer that some of the smaller parties running for Senate seats are fronts, designed to hijack the complicated preferencing system. It remains to be seen whether Australians will see through this and use their above-the-line vote directly for their candidate of choice, or number every box separately.

If they don’t, they may wake up the morning after the election and find the political landscape radically different, and have cause to regret their trust of small parties, including the fledgeling, supposedly pro-democratic, WikiLeaks Party.

Home run for Julian?

There is also the question of what happens to Julian Assange’s seat, if he is elected. The pressure to bring him home to Australia safely would be intense. As well, he may be eligible for a diplomatic passport and the attendant diplomatic immunity in Australia. Something I’m sure Assange himself has discussed with others very carefully.

Come home, all may yet be forgiven

There is no doubt that some very passionate and compassionate people swung their support behind the WikiLeaks Party campaign.

And very few want to see the brilliant Assange, one of the finest minds of our generation, rot in a dank, dark cell. We hope he gets home safely. But…is it right to subvert the democratic process to do so?

UMR Research commissioned the polling that set Assange on this path. I wonder at their motives.

Assange sees this party as his own. It is his game and he will play it how he wants. I don’t doubt he truly does not understand why people are so upset about the way this has been done, or the behaviour of some of the people involved.
His interview with The Drum, on Friday night, was most revealing. In it he cries: “I am not a politician!” and goes on to prove it by getting the names of his own candidate, and of David Wirrpanda (not Miranda) wrong. Fair enough, he is under a lot of serious pressure, and can be forgiven for not being as across the issues as perhaps he should be.
But democracy is democracy. We use the democratic processes to elect representatives because they are the closest thing we have seen approaching fairness. Truth matters. Accountability matters. Not using the group to further your individual ends, often against the interest of the group, matters.

The most revealing moment of all, was the moment the journalist seems to hang his head at Assange’s words, 11:37.

Sadly, we are all hanging our heads over this. Shame.

* AAP is owned jointly by Fairfax, News Corp, and a minor share to Seven West.

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15 Comments

  1. malypenseSeptember 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Julian Assange is a great hacker. And a useless politician. Get him back to Australia, and give him and wikileaks access to our best tech. But not in the senate, he is not a politician. The best the Sneate can do is slow down new laws, I agree.

  2. AnonSeptember 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I know this guy, Geogeatos. It is true what you say here. He also screwed up Murdcoh Uni students union badly….you should look into that. Sacked people who didn’t agree with him, gave himslef a huge salary. Research it.

  3. Sandra KellySeptember 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Lies, twists and turns and back stabbing. Where’s honesty, ethics and sticking by those who have supported you Wikileaks and Gerry Georgatos? Getting elected at any cost, scrambling over the bodies of good people and doing deals with devils is a really bad start and will mean the finish of your endeavours. Thank you and goodnight!

  4. AislinnSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    No, I believe this. I have heard many things about Assange. And the people in the party are very odd…Greg Barns is one of them, and he used to be a Liberal until recently. I’ll vote Green

  5. EstelleSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    The dirty preferencing deals that have been done by all parties are a total joke. As election guru Antony Green said yesterday “The political parties – the minor and micro parties – have just swapped preferences like a giant game of twister,” and “This senate election is an outrageous fiddling of the electoral system, …as people … try and find the candidate they know among the flotsam and jetsam of people who have been able to get on the ballot paper because of the loose criteria”.

  6. Boots WalkingSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    When it comes to politics its every man for him self it seems… They would sacrifice anything for their chance to get into Parliament…. Our Sham system of Government… Corrupt, fraudulent, unkind, where the rich get richer and the poor eat the crumbs

  7. MannySeptember 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    The wikileaks party could have been a really good thing ifor australia, instead we’ve got infighting and backstabbing already. Some say Assange is being set up by his enemies and that all the voices against him are veing fooled. Some say he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Some say he’s crook himself. either way, the party is a mess. in another election, i’d give them a chance, but they have to get themselves sorted out first.

  8. Scott WebberSeptember 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Don’t believe a word the WikiLeaks Party has published. I read the resignation thing you mentioned here and it is the pits. WikiLeaks is a great idea, but who has got control of it here?
    Preferences to One Nation in NSW? To Nationals in West Australi? If they had a brain they’d be dangerous. Makes you think.

  9. JMaxSeptember 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Assange is a total fraud. Talks about freedom of information and democracy, doesn’t walk it. I’m not voting for those pricks.

  10. FatAnnieSeptember 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Julian Assange is wanted for quesioning over rape in Sweden. What, we don’t believe women any more?
    Rape is rape.

    Face the charges Julian.

  11. BuggerAllOfThemSeptember 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    How can people vote for third-line parties when they don’t know where the votes are going to go? You vote greens, you think if they don’t get in, another more left party will get the vote. You vote WikiLeaks, you think Green will get the vote. But this says they won’t. A lot of people say they won’t, Crikey, Anthony Green. I don’t want to vote at all, but i’m on the role. I’ll get a fine.

  12. HangrySeptember 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    He;s a great hacker. That’s it. You vote for idiots, you get idiocy. your call, Australia

  13. TerMinatorSeptember 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    His motive?

    get home safe.

    what more motive do you need?

  14. Liam M.September 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    But why would Assange, who has always championed free information and humanitatarian issues, do this, make deals with parties like The Nationals and Pauline Hanson? It doesn’t make sense.

    I’ve seen the stories. I know there is something bad about it.

    What is his motive?

  15. Anti-woman preferencing decisions | Feminists opposing an Assange-led Wikileaks PartyAugust 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    […] preferences, it has come under heavy criticism from left activists for potentially leading to a Coalition-dominated Senate, and for giving high preferences to conservative parties already having parliamentary […]

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