Julian Assange’s father and brother believe Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made a stronger attempt to stop the WikiLeaks founder from being extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States.
The 50-year-old Australian-born journalist is facing extradition to the US on a number of charges including spying, hacking and the leaking of classified documents from more than a decade ago.
Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, told Sky News Australia the new government had improved its approach to British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to approve the extradition.
“In terms of a change of approach yes there has been a change, you know the previous government hid behind this rhetoric of sub judice and consular assistance,” he said on Thursday.
“The new government Anthony Albanese has made statements like enough is enough when it comes to Julian’s persecution and that he doesn’t see what purpose is served of Julian being locked up in a prison.
“There has been a change of the stance but Julian’s situation hasn’t changed he’s still in a maximum security prison where he’s been for the last three years.”
John Shipton, Assange’s father, also called on the Prime Minister to “pick up the phone” and begin action to stop his son’s extradition.
“We simplify it to the point where the Prime Minister just picks up the phone and rings his colleague in the US or in the UK and begins the process of settling this matter,” he told Sky News Australia.
“You can’t start these processes without and action and that would begin the diplomatic negotiations to bring Julian back to Australia post-haste.”
Mr Albanese last year said he “did not see the point” of US authorities continuing their “ongoing pursuit” of Assange but recently said he would engage “appropriately” and “diplomatically” with its partners.
Assange has been held in London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison since 2019 after the US took action to see him extradited.
Since Mr Patel’s decision to approve the extradition Mr Assange has moved to appeal the ruling.
Assange’s family have also voiced concerns about his “dire” health after he suffered a “mini stroke” in October last year which has caused a drooping left eyelid.
“His health is in decline he’s in a very precarious situation and this looming extradition he has one more chance to apply to appeal to the UK High Court and if that appeal is rejected he could be extradited as early as September,” Mr Shipton said.
“Really the rhetoric from the government has changed but the time to act for the government is now and to intervene to get Julian back home.”