[NOTE: The WikiLeaks Party has published an expanded version of the party platform we published here. You can download a .pdf of their latest version of it here: 2013/08/WLP_platform.pdf
You’re welcome! As this seems to be an ongoing project for them, we will try to provide updates as they are released by WLP Australia. – FoWL Chicago, 18 August, 2013]
We reprint below, for the education of our readers, a full copy of the 4-point political program of the WikiLeaks Party of Australia.
The “Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago” group does not endorse this party programme. In our opinion, it falls far short of what we’d like to see in a political program in any country. Any political party programme that declares its allegiance to the capitalist system – which the WikiLeaks Party of Australia clearly does – declares itself to be an opponent of the working class internationally. Defense of the capitalist system – an economic system which, by its very nature oppresses and exploits every single working man and woman in every capitalist nation-state on Earth – is a defense of the “rights” of the tiny minority of capitalists to systematically rob the working class and to wage wars all over the globe in defense of the capitalists’ overseas investments. We hope that our principled opposition to the programme of the WikiLeaks Party will cause its members to reflect on our political criticisms of the WLPA and will lead to a broad revision of that programme that declares that the capitalist system itself is the primary cause of poverty, starvation, unemployment and war – which it unquestionably is – and that the capitalist state must not be merely reformed but must be replaced in toto by a revolutionary socialist workers republic. Only then can the world be free from political repression, a global capitalist police state and the continued division of the world into competing capitalist nation-states – a condition that will inevitably lead to World War Three.
Having said all that, we reassert our equally principled defense of the WikiLeaks organization from any and all attacks launched against it from any capitalist nation-state on the planet. We hope that we will be able to continue to work to create a strong US support group for Wikileaks here in Chicago and around the US.
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago
TRANSPARENCY. ACCOUNTABILITY. JUSTICE.
The WikiLeaks Party believes that truthful, accurate, factual information is the foundation of democracy and is essential to the protection of human rights and freedoms. Where the truth is suppressed or distorted, corruption and injustice flourish.
The WikiLeaks Party insists on transparency of government information and action, so that these may be evaluated using all the available facts. With transparency comes accountability, and it is only when those in positions of power are held accountable for their actions, that all Australians have the possibility of justice.
The WikiLeaks Party is fearless in its pursuit of truth and good governance, regardless of which party is in power. In each and every aspect of government we will strive to achieve transparency, accountability and justice. This is our core platform.
In a parliamentary democracy, Parliament has three functions
1) To represent the people (the democratic function)
2) To design, guide and implement policy (the legislative function)
3) To scrutinise and oversee government practice, honesty and efficiency (the oversight function).
However what we have witnessed in Australia, despite exceptional work by individual politicians in all the major parties, is a failure of the oversight function. There has been a gradual acceptance that once a single party or a coalition has gained the majority required to form a government, Parliament then becomes little more than an extension of that government’s executive machinery: the houses of Parliament effectively become rubber stamps for its policy agendas. This problem becomes particularly pressing when a single party gains a majority in both Houses, a spectre that remains a distinct possibility after the 2013 election.
The WikiLeaks Party aims to restore genuine independent scrutiny into our political process.
This is why we are campaigning only for the Upper House. We want to return the Senate to its core function as a genuine Upper House – offering independent scrutiny of government, protecting the interests of the people, and ensuring that light is shone upon bad practices.
Calling Time on Corruption of Purpose
Parliament is also failing Australians in its democratic function.
In a true democracy, Parliament must facilitate – not obstruct – our democratic obligation to dissent.
Yet we are witness to a degeneration of democracy into political party oligarchy, in which dissent is stifled and the public bureaucracy is contained and docile.
Members of Parliament fail to represent the people who elect them partly because of the party system: they are constrained by an obligation to toe their party line. Instead of voting according to conscience or according to the values they have publicly espoused to their constituents, they vote as they are instructed by their Party leadership.
Far too often politicians conceive their public role not to be scrutineers of government, but to be partisan supporters of their own party. Their sense of duty to the party and to the networks of political patronage to which they owe their nomination and their career prospects, outweighs their sense of duty to the electorate.
How rare is it to see a Member of Parliament, whether in government or in opposition, stepping out of line, or raising difficult or controversial issues? To engage in backbench rebellion spells death for the career politician, putting an end to their prospects of career advancement or ministerial appointment.
The result is a system of party oligarchy in which conspiracy and corruption of purpose flourish.
It’s time for a culture shift.
It’s time to give dissidents a voice in our political system.
It’s time to inject some genuine, independent scrutiny into our political process.
The WikiLeaks Party in the Senate
The WikiLeaks Party is running a number of candidates for the Senate in the 2013 election.
Our Senators will be genuinely independent in their scrutiny of the government and demand thorough transparency its contractual arrangements with private companies.
We will bring our core principles of transparency, accountability and justice to bear on all the major issues currently facing Australia.
WikiLeaks Party candidates are ideally suited to the work of the Senate: they are skilled in understanding complexity and they are experienced in dealing with large amounts of documents produced by bureaucracies and spotting their hidden significance and tricks.
The WikiLeaks Party will be vigilant against corruption in all its forms.
The WikiLeaks organisation was pioneering in its use of ‘scientific journalism’, reporting information with reference to publicly available primary sources. The WikiLeaks Party will promote ‘scientific policy’; decision-making based on research, evidence and clear, transparent principles.
In particular we will be fearless in the pursuit of the 21st century freedoms which are essential to the creation of any meaningful democracy. These include:
the free flow of information: we live in a media-ocracy. What is politically possible is defined by the media environment. And in Australia 98% of the print media is the hands of just three corporations. Seven out of ten of our national newspapers are owned by the Murdoch News International group. The WikiLeaks Party will push for radical change in media policy to increase Australian media innovation.
Internet freedom – the WikiLeaks Party will be fearless in its opposition to the creeping surveillance state, driven by globalised data collection and spying agencies, both state and corporate controlled. We will demand that all information on data seizure and storage of citizens’ data by government agencies and allied corporations be made public.
protection for whistleblowers – with an increasingly unaccountable corporate state and an increasingly secretive security state, whistleblowers are an essential brake on bad practice. Only the threat of leaks can keep unaccountable institutions honest. So whistleblowers must be protected by law.
standing up for national sovereignty – for too long Australian politics has been under the influence of foreign powers and transnational non-state actors, affecting both our foreign and domestic policy, against the interests of Australians. The WikiLeaks Party will fight to expose the collusions between the Australian state and the military-industrial complex that dominates world affairs.
integrity in the global community – our national character is proud and generous, but recent policies have not met our obligations to the international community. The WikiLeaks Party will ensure Australia stands tall as a responsible global citizen.
Asylum Seeker Policy
The WikiLeaks Party:
1. Stands in the proud tradition of the WikiLeaks publishing organisation of accountability for the powerful, compassion for the victims of violent conflict, and an evidence-based approach to social issues.
2. Acknowledges the enormous scale of the global refugee problem, and that Australians may legitimately find it a fearful and overwhelming one.
3. Acknowledges also that both major parties have misled the Australian public about the scale of the problem facing Australia. By any international comparison, Australia sees a less than proportionate share of the global refugee problem.
4. Is committed to setting the record straight, providing the Australian public with facts and context on asylum seekers, and holding the Australian government to close scrutiny on the issue, in line with our core values of Transparency, Accountability and Justice.
In the Senate, the WikiLeaks Party will:
5. Demand full, immediate public disclosure of the Rudd government’s PNG deal, including all details of hosting, health resources, personnel, assessment and review processes, resettlement, and post-settlement employment opportunities.
6. Demand full access to asylum seekers held in detention for media, NGOs, and human rights organisations and agencies.
7. Demand government accountability over treatment of asylum seekers, including support for:
Reversal of the Rudd Government’s PNG arrangement.
Processing of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by the Australian government.
A cap of 45 days in immigration detention for any asylum seeker, for initial health and security checks, with any extension requiring judicial approval.
Requiring the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to report to Parliament every 6 months on its case load, processes, results, and the health of detainees.
Repeal of the excision of Australian territories from the migration zone.
8. Demand accountability in the assessment of asylum claims, including:
Opposing any legislative change to restrict or obfuscate the legal definition of a refugee.
Ensuring the Refugee Review Tribunal is respected and adequately resourced as a judicial body, able to assess facts independently and free from executive influence.
Supporting measures to subject ASIO security assessments to comprehensive and expedient judicial review, including rights of appeal for asylum seekers.
9. Support measures to stem the flow of asylum seekers at the source, by working towards a foreign policy based on human rights and international law, averting conflict from the outset.
1. A record of accountability and compassion.
The WikiLeaks Party continues in the proud tradition of the WikiLeaks publishing organisation, which has exposed human rights abuses in military conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Wars create vast human waves of suffering, of which a small part finds its way to Australia in the form of asylum seekers. We stand fearlessly for accountability for the powerful and compassion for the victims of violent conflict and persecution around the world.
2. An evidence-based approach.
The WikiLeaks publishing organisation pioneered scientific journalism, the WikiLeaks Party stands for scientific policymaking. We value data over spin, facts over fearmongering, and context over isolated incidents. Both major parties in Australia have consistently misrepresented the asylum seeker situation. Good policy can only emerge from a well-informed citizenry.
3. Asylum seekers and refugees in context.
The WikiLeaks Party acknowledges that the global refugee problem is enormous. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as of the end of 2012 there were 45.2 million displaced people in the world – significantly more than the population of Australia. Numbers of asylum applications in Australia have been increasing; 2012 was the first year in which asylum seekers arriving by boat outnumbered arrivals by plane.
However, both major parties have misled the Australian public about the scale of the problem facing Australia. The fraction of the problem that reaches Australia is still, by any international measure, small. Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world and ranks 2nd on the UN Human Development Index, yet a sober analysis of UNHCR data makes this clear that it ranks far lower in terms of its hosting of refugees.
Hosted refugees per capita, 2012 (UNHCR):
Country Refugees Hosted per 1000 inhabitants Rank
Hosted refugees as of end 2012 (UNHCR):
Country Refugees Hosted Rank
Behind these numbers lies a world of suffering, and a serious political issue for Australia. But it is an issue of which Australia sees a less than proportionate global share.
4. Setting the record straight.
The WikiLeaks Party will strive to correct the public record in the public interest about asylum seekers. In the aftermath of the Vietnam war, the Australian government resettled refugees at the rate of up to 20,000 per year, without public outcry and with bipartisan support. But since 9/11 and the Tampa, fearmongering has come to dominate Australian asylum policy. Even though the vast majority of boat arrivals are consistently found by rigorous assessments to have a genuine fear of persecution in their home country, both major parties have sown fear and misunderstanding in the Australian community. The WikiLeaks Party will correct the public record, providing facts and context and holding the Australian government to account over spurious and deceptive claims.
5. Our core values.
In line with this understanding, if elected, WikiLeaks Party senators will do their utmost to bring the WikiLeaks Party values of Transparency, Accountability and Justice to the Australian debate on asylum seekers.
6. Full, immediate public disclosure of the Rudd government’s PNG deal.
The WikiLeaks Party demands details of all host arrangements, health resources, and personnel arrangements. Processes for assessing asylum claims, judicial review, and conditions of resettlement, must be disclosed. The Rudd government must disclose how it will assist PNG in providing education and employment opportunities for resettled refugees. Under the Migration Act, the Australian government retains an obligation to asylum seekers transferred to PNG.
The Australian people need to know how Papua New Guinea, a poor nation, will cope with the problem we are handballing to them.
7. Legislate full access for media , NGOs and Human Rights agencies to asylum seekers.
The WikiLeaks Party demands that media, NGOs, Australian and International Human Rights Commissioners and agencies be granted full access to all immigration detention centres, processing facilities and to newly arrived asylum seekers, and supports legislation to this effect. The WikiLeaks Party defends the right of all asylum seekers to access the UNHCR and human rights NGOs and to make contact with the media. The UNHCR, human rights NGOs and media must have the right to inspect any such facility and to interview asylum seekers.
The Australian people must be able to see what detention policies mean to the lives of asylum seekers and refugees.
8. Government accountability in asylum seeker treatment.
The WikiLeaks Party demands that the Australian government be held accountable for its treatment of asylum seekers. Treatment of asylum seekers must be, at the very least, in line with the minimal requirements of international human rights law, including the Refugee Convention.
Reverse the PNG deal. It clearly violates article 32 of the Refugee Convention, which prohibits expulsion of refugees. The PNG arrangement must be challenged and reversed.
Process refugees ourselves. In international context, there is no reason why Australia should not be able to process refugees itself.
45 days to process asylum seekers. There is no reason why initial health and security checks of any asylum seeker should take more than a few weeks. The WikiLeaks Party supports a cap of 45 days in immigration detention for any asylum seeker, after which they must be released into the community. Any extension must have judicial approval.
DIAC to report to Parliament every 6 months. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship should report every 6 months on its case load, processes and results, including independent reports of mental and physical health of all detainees held in the previous 6 month period.
Repeal excision. The excision of Australian territories from the migration zone must be repealed. Australia is Australia, not an empty void. The Australian government must not resort to legal trickery to avoid its obligations under the Migration Act.
9. Accountability in the assessment of asylum claims.
The WikiLeaks Party demands that assessment processes be transparent, adequately resourced, and independent.
Refugees are refugees. The WikiLeaks Party opposes any proposed legislative change to restrict and obfuscate the legal definition of a refugee.
Respect the Refugee Review Tribunal. The RRT must be afforded the respect and resources required of an independent judicial body. The RRT must not be made dependent on DIAC for information about source countries. It must be able to assess facts independently, free from executive influence.
Judicial review for security assessments. ASIO security assessments must be subject to comprehensive and expedient judicial review. Asylum seekers must have the right to appeal adverse security assessments, and be granted their natural and legal rights.
10. Stopping the problem at the source.
The best way to ease the flow of asylum seekers to Australia is to stop the conflicts which create refugees in the first place. In particular, Australia should not blindly follow allies into disastrous illegal wars. The WikiLeaks Party will work towards a foreign policy based on human rights and international law, one which averts conflict from the outset.
Climate Change Policy
The WikiLeaks Party:
1. Acknowledges that human induced change to the climate is occurring and will continue occur unless actions are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and globally.
2. Supports Australian contributions to keep global temperatures to less than 2°C above preindustrial levels.
3. Acknowledges that a significant proportion of Australia’s coal reserves will have to remain unburned if the world is to avoid further dangerous global warming.
In the Senate, The WikiLeaks Party will:
4. Carefully review the Climate Change Authority Review on Caps and Targets, ensuring recommendations are evidence-based and that all information from this report is made publicly available.
5. Ensure any tabled Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation addresses the criticisms of the EU ETS system, particularly the transparency with which permits are allocated to industry, the impact on food production, and the openness of industry reporting on measured emissions.
6. Combat secrecy and corruption in the relationship between governments and fossil carbon industries, and support measures for the federal government to limit subsidies to coal terminal leases, coal transport-infrastructure expenditures, and diesel tax rebates for coal producing activities in Australia.
7. Support legislative measures to encourage the development of renewable energy, including the Mandatory Renewables Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and mechanisms to better allow the grid-integration of renewable energy sources.
8. Ensure the change from coal based industries is done responsibly with concern for communities directly involved in coal production.
9. Support research and development into climate science and innovative, scientifically and ecologically sound, technological and social responses to climate and energy change.
10. Support measures to increase the resilience and adaptability of climate-exposed industries including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, transport and essential services, to climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
Overview of position
1. The WikiLeaks Party (WLP) acknowledges that human induced change to the climate is occurring and will continue to occur unless actions are taken immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and globally .
2. Australia is a dry continent subject to the vagaries of national climate. It is a country particularly reliant on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Our lifestyle and economy are dependent on coastal resources, all of which are directly affected by changes in climate. The WikiLeaks Party supports Australia contributing to global action to keep the Earth’s temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels in order to prevent further dangerous human-caused interference with the climate.
3. The WikiLeaks Party understands that CO2 now exceeds 400 parts per million in the atmosphere and that continued emissions will cause further warming of the planet, the science of which is succinctly expressed in the three numbers of Bill McKibben, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. These three numbers are: i) 2 degrees – the limit of warming to which governments have agreed; ii) 565 gigatonnes of CO2 – the amount of CO2 we can emit into the atmosphere to stay under 2 degrees; and iii) 2795 gigatonnes of CO2 – the amount of CO2 that would be emitted if we burned the known fossil fuel reserves of the planet.
Following the recent report of the Australian Climate Commission , we acknowledge that a significant proportion of Australia’s coal reserves will have to be left unburned (in Australia or elsewhere) if the world is to avoid catastrophic global warming. Doing this cooperatively in the global community whilst maintaining a robust Australian economy is a significant policy challenge: the WLP acknowledges that climate change is an international and intergenerational tragedy of the commons and prisoners’ dilemma wrapped in one.
4. The WikiLeaks Party in the Senate will carefully review the Climate Change Authority Review on Caps and Targets, due by the 28th February 2014, ensuring that all information is publicly available, and that the independent scientific evidence underpinning the review supports the government’s actions.
5. The WikiLeaks Party will ensure any tabled legislation addresses the criticisms of the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), particularly the transparency with which permits are allocated to industry, the impact on food production, and the openness of industry reporting on measured emissions.
6. The WikiLeaks Party will combat secrecy and corruption in the relationship between the government and polluting industries. The WLP further supports natural, undistorted market based solutions to climate change, and to this end encourages measures for the federal government to i) limit the direct subsidies to coal terminal leases and the provision of infrastructure for coal transport; ii) forego the diesel tax rebate for coal mining in Australia; and iii) lower coal subsidies and trade barriers that act as distortions to the market.
7. The WikiLeaks Party acknowledges South Australia’s early achievement of the Mandatory Renewables Energy Target (MRET) and in light of Bloomberg Finance’s analysis that new wind and solar power plants are cheaper to build than new coal and gas power plants, encourages the increased supply of renewable energy in Australia. The WLP will support the MRET, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and measures that better allow the grid-integration of renewable energy supply into the National Electricity Market.
8. The WikiLeaks Party acknowledges that coal currently contributes ~2% of our GDP and generates 68% of Australian electricity. We are the world’s second largest exporter of coal, the production of coal in the Hunter employs 6% of the local population, royalties contribute $3 billion to the QLD government and $1.3 billion to the NSW government annually, and we have 9% of the world’s known coal reserves. The WLP acknowledges any change to this industry will be difficult and must be done responsibly and compassionately. However, the WLP also understands that the consequences of >2 degrees warming are catastrophic and include: longer and more severe droughts, increased frequency of extreme weather events with associated insurance costs, more intense bushfires, bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, rapid shifting of viable farming locations and loss of biodiversity amongst others.
9. The WikiLeaks Party supports research and development into climate science, renewable energy, carbon-sequestration, electricity-grid transformation and the feasibility of pricing the extraction of carbon from the earth’s crust instead of the emission of CO2 into its atmosphere. The WLP further supports research into the economic and social consequences of changing climate, and innovative, scientifically and ecologically sound responses to climate change in Australia.
10. The WikiLeaks Party supports measures to increase the resilience and adaptability of all climate exposed industries in Australia, including but not limited to: agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, transport, and essential services, in the face of climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
 Anderson and McKibben, Environment and Development Economics, 5(4), 2000, pp 457-481, Cambridge University Press https://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/bitstream/1885/40953/3/bdp135.pdf
Media diversity and the Australian Content Innovation Fund
Announced by WikiLeaks Party’s lead Senate candidate for Victoria Julian Assange during the Can we trust the media? forum at Splendour in the Grass, 26 July 2013.
If elected the WikiLeaks Party will implement the following policies, to support all Australian creators of content, and to substantially increase the funding to Australian journalists.
1. We will oppose any attempts to privatise the ABC and SBS, in part or in full. Tony Abbott denies that this is on the Coalition agenda, but, as we all know, he answers to Rupert Murdoch.
2. We will push for measures to help non-profit media and non-profit news organisations. The print media still dominates the way political information is originated in Australia, even online. But with the exception of Sydney and Melbourne, no other large Australian city at present has more than a single daily newspaper. For a medium-ranking democracy, Australia’s 98% print media circulation being in the hands of just three corporations puts it into a special category of its own, and not a good one. We badly need diversification of the Australian media.
To assist with this, we will make donations to independent Australian media organisations tax-deductible. This was a measure introduced in the United States, and there it helped to substantially increase the number of not-for-profit media organisations, from ‘Democracy Now’ to ‘Pro-Republic’.
3. We will revolutionise Australian media and music innovation by establishing an Australian content innovation fund, easily accessible to all Australians, a fund that bypasses the traditional inefficient, politicized and bureaucratic funding mechanisms.
The model will be based upon the successful Australian Public Lending Rights Scheme, which grants Australian authors a small fee for every library book borrowed. We will massively expand this program so that it covers the internet, so it is accessible to all Australians, across all formats and double the amount returned to Australian authors.
We will do this by conducting a statistical survey throughout the year to determine the 100,000 most nominated works authored by Australians across music, journalism, online books, reference works, blogs, videos and other content.
Each Australian making the list will be paid ‘dividends’ from its budget in proportion to the frequency discovered by the survey over the last year, capped to a total of two times the medium wage per author.
The money will come from a small fee on the defence budget, because projecting popular Australian content to the world makes the world care about the fate of Australians and is a very effective contribution to our defence. We must have a strong defence and that means an efficient, clever and creative defence.