Julian Assange to push for greater Australia defence spending

Added by on March 27, 2012

Julian Assange has revealed he will push for Australia to spend more on defence and intelligence services as part of his bid to run for the country’s senate.

Assange , the founder of WikiLeaks, is on bail waiting for a British court decision on his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations, said he will run at the next election as a “libertarian” and wants to reduce Australia’s reliance on the United States.

In his first comments on his newly-declared political ambitions, he told Fairfax media that Australia must prepare for the likelihood of “serious decline” of the US and “collapse of its superpower status” over the next 15 to 20 years.

This would require greater regional engagement and an increased defense and intelligence budget “to reduce our reliance on the US”, he said.

Assange also named the former conservative prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, who has since become an outspoken critic of Australia’s tough asylum seeker policies, as one of his political role models.

He said he would consider running as an independent, launching a new party or teaming up with an existing party.

“[There is] very little difference between Liberal and Labor – especially once they get into government,” he said. “Labor suffers more from cronyism, while the Liberals care more for big business.”

Analysts in Australia say it is not clear whether Assange – who has not yet said in which state he would run – is entitled to run under the electoral rules.

Antony Green, a leading Australian election analyst, commented Assange would have little chance of gaining a seat at the next election, due in 2013.

Mr Green added non-party candidates for the Senate rarely have a chance of winning unless they are candidates – such as state MPs or popular mayors – who already have a strong political base.