PM not briefed on Julian Assange since May
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not had a formal briefing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than four months, a Senate committee has heard.
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has not had a formal briefing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than four months, a Senate committee has heard.
Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in June in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over rape allegations.
The Australian citizen is concerned if he goes to Sweden, authorities will allow him to be extradited to the United States to be questioned over WikiLeaks release of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam on Monday questioned the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on when the prime minister was last briefed or her department last asked to provide briefing materials on WikiLeaks or Julian Assange specifically.
Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division deputy secretary Richard Sadleir said Ms Gillard was last briefed on May 31.
“That was the last formal briefing, a standard briefing,” Mr Sadleir told the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee.
“Since then we just update using question time briefs and so forth.”
Mr Sadleir said Ms Gillard had not received a formal briefing about Mr Assange seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy.
“It would probably have just been picked up in question time briefing,” he said.
Mr Assange has rejected claims by Foreign Minister Bob Carr he has been receiving full consular support, saying 63 consular contacts quoted by him included emails sent to his lawyer about future possible appointments.
The whistleblower says he has not seen any member of the Australian embassy or consulate since he was in prison in 2010.