Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Charge the PM with treason?

By Tess Lawrence - posted Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Julian Assange asks why shouldn't the Australian people consider charging Prime Minister Julia Gillard with treason. What's wrong with this picture ? Nothing. Granted, one person's Benedict Arnold is another's Paul Revere. But, if betrayal and illegally passing on intelligence to the United States and other foreign governments are sine quibus non in matters treasonable, then hasn't Assange got a point worthy of non-hysterical debate ? After all, he knows where the bodies are.

The other night on the ABC's weekly current affairs forum 'Q and A' the normal panel format was ditched in favour of a single guest. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was resplendant, glowing in both lip and political gloss, fresh as a par avion daisy from her triumphant US trip where, we are led to believe, she wowed the Yanks and delivered a speech so moving that it reduced Congress to racking sobs and got a standing ovation longer than Beyonce's performance for Gaddafi the Younger.

During the show, the Prime Minister took a not unexpected question from a member of the studio audience about WikiLeaks and responded in a not unexpected way by not answering it but suffocating it with waffle.


This is how it went sequentially and here I quote from the ABC transcript. First, handsome Adam Marsters asked the PM " ..following WikiLeaks' publishing of classified documents last year, you labelled the organisation's actions ' illegal ' despite being unable to identify any law which had been broken. Given the increasingly vocal support for WikiLeaks, do you now regret such comments ? "

PM: " ....We are supporting Julian Assange the same way we would support any Australian citizen who got into a legal difficulty overseas.

" We support people who are accused of drug trafficking. We support people who are accused of murder....I'm sure everyone here would say " Well, drug trafficking is wrong. Murder is wrong..."

"So my view about the conduct is neither here nor there in that sense. He's getting the same support someone called John Smith would get in the same situation. But I do have a view about the merit and morals of the act and I simply don't see the moral force in it.

"...I know enough about American history to know the history of Watergate and Deep Throat did the right thing getting that information into the public domain...At the centre of WikiLeaks, I don't see that moral purpose. "

Then host Tony Jones took a question coming in on video online. It was Julian Assange calling.


Persona-non-grata in person. Face to internet face with the PM.

Now, Up above in America, bringing antagonist and protagonist together on the telly is quite normal but Downunder, we get our knickers in a barrier reef knot when we do grown up newsy things.

Naturally, it was an expectant moment when Assange asked quietly and calmly " Prime Minister, you just got back from Washington but what Australian citizens want to know is, which country do you represent ? "

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Extended versions of this article have been published on Independent Australia and Truthout. This update has also been posted on Independent Australia.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

14 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Tess Lawrence is a journalist advocate and specialist in ethical media services and crisis management and contributing editor at large for Independent Australia.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Tess Lawrence

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Tess Lawrence
Article Tools
Comment 14 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy