Majority support for Assange’s release and return home

(AAP Image/Darren England)

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A majority of Australians (57%) want the Biden Administration to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange and allow him to return home to Australia, according to new Australia Institute research.

The Australia Institute conducted a national poll of 1,005 people, between 21 May to 23 May 2024, about the United States’ prosecution of Australian publisher and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange, currently imprisoned and facing extradition to the United States.

Key Findings

  • A majority of Australians (57%) want the Biden Administration to drop charges against Julian Assange, while 14% of respondents do not think the charges should be dropped.
    • Support is consistent across the political spectrum: 60% of Labor voters agree that the Biden Administration should drop the charges against Julian Assange and that Assange should be allowed to return to Australia, as do 63% of Greens voters, 58% of One Nation voters, 54% of Coalition voters and 48% of Independent/Other voters.
  • Three times as many Australians think the Federal Government is doing too little to secure Assange’s release (34%), versus doing too much (11%). One quarter (24%) believe the government is doing the right amount, with remaining respondents unsure (31%).
  • These results confirm earlier Australian Institute polling, conducted last year, demonstrating consistent community concern that the government isn’t doing enough to secure Julian Assange’s release.

“Both the Australian people and the Australian Parliament have made their position abundantly clear: Australian citizen Julian Assange should be allowed to come home, and ‘quiet diplomacy’ is no longer sufficient,” said Dr Emma Shortis, Senior Researcher in International & Security Affairs at the Australia Institute.

“Support for Julian Assange crosses political lines in Australia and the United States. Both Biden and Trump have said they are “considering” dropping the case. The time to do that is now.

“The Biden administration’s continued pursuit of Julian Assange despite calls for his freedom from the majority of Australians, the Australian parliament, and members of the United States Congress, is astounding and represents an appalling show of disrespect for a critical security ally.

“The charges against Julian Assange represent a direct threat to press freedom globally and are a direct contradiction of the shared values of the US-Australia alliance.”

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