- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
WikiLeaks’ Assange plans bid for Australian Senate
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in elections due next year despite being under virtual house arrest in England and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, the group said Saturday.
Assange has criticized Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s center-left government for not standing up for him against the potential threat of his extradition to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents.
John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, said it was possible for Assange to run for a Senate seat if he remains on the Australian electoral roll despite living overseas for several years.
“If he gets on the roll, then he can stand as long as he’s solvent and not in jail and not insane,” Wanna said.
Being convicted of a crime punishable under Australian law by 12 months or more in prison can disqualify a person from running for the Australian Parliament for the duration of the sentence, even if it is suspended.
Constitutional lawyer George Williams of the University of New South Wales said that provision of the constitution has never been tested in the courts in the 111-year history of the Australian federation and probably would not apply to a criminal conviction in a foreign country such as Sweden.
“I’m not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted,” Williams said.
Any adult Australian citizen can run for the Australian Parliament, but few succeed without the backing of a major political party. Only one of Australia’s 76 current senators does not represent a party.
Every Australian election attracts candidates who have little hope of winning and use their campaigns to seek publicity for various political or commercial causes.
Wanna said the odds are against Assange winning a seat, but that he could receive more than 4 percent of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile. At that threshold, candidates can claim more than $2 per vote from the government to offset their campaign expenses. Assange’s bill to the taxpayer could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The next Senate election cannot be called before July 2013 and is due around August. Candidates cannot officially register as candidates until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again