Call to release Julian Assange

Blue Mountains City Council will write to the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister asking the government to advocate for the immediate release of Julian Assange and the dropping of all charges.

Greens Cr Kerry Brown, who proposed the motion at the March meeting, said: "This council resolution is not a token gesture as should be clear from the detailed reasons I have provided for inclusion in the letter. We need to take a stand.

"Around the world momentum is gathering to challenge the denial of human rights for the most well-known Australian citizen that also threatens the freedom of our media and society. None of us are free while Julian Assange is incarcerated.

"Governments are trying to frighten us not to question, not to blow the whistle and not to assist or listen to whistleblowers.

"Julian Assange's father John Shipton told gatherings in Katoomba and Hazelbrook last month that support from the Australian Government was critical in the campaign to save his son.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the largest union for creative professionals in Australia has called on "the US government to drop all charges against Julian Assange and for the Australian government to expedite his safe passage to Australia if that is his wish".

The MEAA said the stories published by WIkileaks "were clearly in the public interest".

"The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line."

The Walkley Foundation that gave Mr Assange Australia's highest award for outstanding contributions to journalism in 2011 has also urged the British and Australian governments to oppose Julian Assange's extradition to the United States.

Cr Browns said that many global organisaitons including Amnesty International, Freedom House, Courage Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch, as well as 152 professional law associations and senior legal figures, have stepped up their campaigns calling on the Biden administration to drop the case.

"And then a few days ago Pope Francis sent a personal Easter message to Julian in Belmarsh prison. I think that is another game changer."

Cr Brown noted that since John Shipton's 'Home-Run for Julian' tour reached Canberra last month, Labor MP Julian Hill has joined the Greens and crossbench voices in Parliament speaking on the injustice of Mr Assange's imprisonment and calling for the Australian government to help secure his immediate release.

"This is an important development. It seems Labor have joined the cause"

Cr Brown said the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights which underpins the calls for Julian Assange to be freed has strong connection to the Blue Mountains through one of it principle authors.

Former Leura resident and Australian Attorney-General Herbert (Doc) Evatt played a leading role in writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted in 1949 while he was president of the UN General Assembly.

Cr Brown said: "We should be proud of Australia's leading role in the Declaration of Human Rights and the protocols that have arisen from it. These are now imperilled by the case of Julian Assange so it is a fight I am very heartened the council has joined to help protect democracy."

Coincidentally, in the mid 1980s while living in Leura, John Shipton designed and built the amphitheatre at the Evatt family's Leuralla property overlooking the Jamison Valley.

The Notice of Motion by Councillor Brown was passed with Crs Bowling, Foenander and Van Der Kley opposing and Crs Schreiber and Christie absent.

Former Mayor Jim Angel, Publican Carmel Blackburn, Cr Kerry Brown, John Shipton.

Former Mayor Jim Angel, Publican Carmel Blackburn, Cr Kerry Brown, John Shipton.