Assange to run for Australian Senate: Report

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Tuesday vowed to be a "libertarian" and campaign for more openness in government if he is successful in gaining a seat in the Australian Senate.

Sydney: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Tuesday vowed to be a "libertarian" and campaign for more openness in government if he is successful in gaining a seat in the Australian Senate.

Assange, who is on bail awaiting a British court decision
on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault
allegations, announced his plan to run for the upper house of
Parliament earlier this month.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, the
Australian citizen said he would be a "fierce defender of free
media".

Assange, who set up the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks,
also vowed to use parliamentary privilege to break court
suppression orders and other "excessive constraints" on free
access to information.

The Australian government has previously blasted
WikiLeaks, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard describing its
release of US diplomatic cables as "grossly irresponsible".

Assange told the Herald the attacks by Gillard directly
contributed to his decision to embark on a Senate campaign.
He said there were "many things wrong" with Australian
politics, especially "increasing levels of cronyism" and "the
betrayal of the rights and interests of people -- by political insiders, operating in their own interests".

WikiLeaks has said it will also field a candidate to run
directly against Gillard in her lower house electorate of
Lalor, in Victoria state, in elections due in 2013.

Each of Australia`s states is represented by 12 senators
who serve six-year terms, with half-senate elections for some
40 vacancies generally held at the same time as national polls
for the lower House of Representatives.

The "state Julian will run for will be announced at the
appropriate time", WikiLeaks said this month. He has several
options, having lived in Victoria, New South Wales and
Queensland.
The Herald said he was considering "all possibilities",
including standing as an independent, seeking an alliance with
a party, or establishing his own party devoted to advancing
open government.

Assange strongly denies the sexual assault claims against
him, saying they are politically motivated and linked to the
activities of WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of
confidential documents on the Internet.

PTI

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