Imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has found support in Australian parliament from retiring Queensland LNP MP George Christensen.
The government backbencher introduced a private bill to address the illegal detention of journalists on Monday, titled “free Julian Assange”.
Mr Assange is currently detained in the United Kingdom and is wanted in the United States to face trial on 18 charges.
Charges include breaking an espionage law after WikiLeaks published thousands of secret US files and diplomatic cables in 2010.
Mr Christensen’s bill seeks to define journalism to include “publishing and passively receiving information” which he argues is what Mr Assange did as editor of WikiLeaks.
It also proposes seven years imprisonment for a head of a foreign government if they detained an Australian journalist or requested another foreign government to do so.
In a speech to parliament, Mr Christensen said Mr Assange’s detention set a dangerous precedent for all publishers.
“Journalism and publishers play a crucial role in shining a light on human rights abuses, holding oppressive authorities to account and independently reporting facts,” he said.
“This bill seeks to protect Australian journalists from politically motivated detention and prosecution by foreign powers.”
Mr Christensen’s motion did not receive support from another member required to move it to the next stage of debate.