News World Julian Assange blocks consular assistance

Julian Assange blocks consular assistance

Julian Assange Mike Pence
Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum in 2012 when he was seeking refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden. Photo: Getty
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Julian Assange has instructed British authorities to stop releasing any information about him to the Australian High Commission in London.

Consular officials have written to the Wikileaks leader four times since the order was made on June 14, but have not received a response.

“The High Commission continues to reach out to Mr Assange to offer consular assistance,” Department of Foreign Affairs assistant secretary Andrew Todd told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

“There has been no reply to any of those approaches.”

Australian diplomats wrote to Mr Assange’s lawyer last week, requesting that she raise with him their offer of consular assistance.

“We have not heard back from that particular approach,” Mr Todd said.

Mr Assange is currently behind bars in London after living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week legal processes “should run their course” and he believed Mr Assange should “face the music”.

His position is in contrast to former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

“Sovereignty is not just for people that you like or people that you have a philosophical relationship to, it might be for someone you detest, it might be for someone that you find completely obnoxious,” Mr Joyce said.

“Nonetheless, if they’re a citizen of this nation, they should be afforded the rights of a citizen.”

A group of 11 MPs from across the political spectrum have joined forces to form a Parliamentary Working Group focused on bringing Mr Assange back to Australia.

The group is co-chaired by independent Andrew Wilkie, a longtime supporter of the Australian, and Queensland MP George Christensen.

Also on board are Labor MPs Julian Hill and Steve Georganas, Centre Alliance MPs Rebekha Sharkie and Rex Patrick, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, his deputy Adam Bandt, senator Peter Whish-Wilson and independent Zali Steggall.

-with AAP