[UPDATE, 20 August, 2013 4:30PM Chicago, IL time: We have received no response to our email published below from the WikiLeaks Party of Australia as of this hour. – FoWL Chicago]
[Note: The email we publish below was sent by us to the WikiLeaks Party of Australia (WLPA) earlier today, 19 August, 2013.
It has been alleged that the WikiLeaks Party of Australia, in its election filings with the Australian Electoral Commission, listed the neo-fascist “Australia First Party”, along with several other right-wing and extreme right-wing political parties in preference to several bona fide working class political parties.
Australian elections have a rather complicated feature (which we may not entirely understand ourselves) called “preferential voting”. In this system, a party that is registered to participate in national elections must provide a list of its candidates which will appear on the ballot as well as a list of their preferred choices – in the event that they do not win the election – among all the other parties running candidates.
Voters can either choose to vote for the entire party ticket in the order chosen by their party by voting “above the line” for the party list on the ballot by placing a “1” in the designated box; alternatively, they can choose to prioritize which party candidate they prefer by voting “below the line” in the order of their personal preference for each party candidate by placing numbers in the boxes next to each candidate’s name in order of preference.
95% of Australians choose to vote “above the line”, selecting the party slate as listed. But, as in all bourgeois democracies, there’s a catch if they do that.
In the event that the party you vote for does not win the election, the parties’ votes can be reallocated to the candidates of the other parties running in the election. If you voted “above the line” and your party did not win the election, your party can now reallocate your vote to one of the other parties on your party’s “preferencing statement”.
The preferencing statements made by every party show a lot about their political positions, as they can try to engineer their ballots to deliberately push votes toward other parties. The Pirate Party of Australia has published its preferencing statement here. It has also – quite helpfully for the purposes of understanding how preferencing works – described how it intends to throw its support to other parties in the event that its candidates do not win the election – and what it expects to get back in return from those parties in the event that those parties reallocate their votes to the Pirate Party.
A controversy has developed over the “preferencing statement” produced by the WikiLeaks Party of Australia in the current year’s elections in which the WLPA “preferenced” several right-wing and a neo-fascist (some would say fascist) party over several working class parties and other liberal pro-capitalist parties, such as the Greens.
The WLPA, on its Facebook page, rather dryly stated that the WLPA’s preferencing of the “Australia First” and other right-wing parties was the result of “an administrative error”. A lot of people, including ourselves, are not buying that at all.
In addition to this rather unsettling news, we have been apprised of a recent interview given by Julian Assange, the de facto head of the WLPA and WikiLeaks, in which he expresses his support of U.S. Senators Ron and Rand Paul for their “principled” positions on various issues that have come before the U.S. Congress. We hope that he’s not talking about their “principled” opposition to abortion rights for women even in cases of rape and incest – and Ron Paul’s open racism! This revolting development comes as a double surprise to us, as it is not only a very effective form of political suicide on Mr. Assange’s and WLPA’s behalf in the eyes of many of their U.S. supporters, but because it is SO INCREDIBLY CONSISTENT POLITICALLY with the WLPA’s preferencing statement.
Appended to the email as in the original, you will find links to various websites that further elucidate the contours of this controversy. We are awaiting clarification from the WLPA of their political positions on these issues and will then decide whether or not we can continue to provide the close support to the WikiLeaks organization under these drastically changed political circumstances. In the interest of “transparency and openness” which WikiLeaks purports to embrace, we will keep our readers fully informed of all developments as they occur.
– FoWL Chicago]
19 August 2013
To All WikiLeaks Party of Australia Members, Officers and Spokesperson(s):
We have learned with extreme dismay today that the WikiLeaks Party of Australia has published an election filing for New South Wales in which WLP-A preferred the neo-fascist Australia First Party (AFP) to a number of working-class parties. The WikiLeaks Party’s Facebook page claims that the WLP preference list preferring the AFP was due to “some administrative errors”. We need to know the following:
1) What was the nature of these “administrative errors”? Did they originate from inside the WikiLeaks Party of Australia or were they errors of transcription made by the NSW, the Australian government or the Australian Electoral Commission? If they were “internal errors”, what members of WikiLeaks or its governing bodies committed them and what if anything is being done about this by the WikiLeaks Party of Australia?
2) We need accurate copies of all of the actual preferencing statements of the WikiLeaks Party of Australia for every electoral contest the WLP is participating in in 2013. The Pirate Party has published their preferencing statement on their party’s website http://pirateparty.org.au/2013/08/18/preferencing-statement-for-federal-election-2013/ We request that the WikiLeaks Party of Australia do the same immediately.
We have also learned to our dismay that Julian Assange has declared that he has tremendous admiration for the political positions taken by U.S. Senators Ron Paul and Rand Paul. This is extremely disheartening news. Ron Paul is against abortion rights for women; he is against immigrant rights; he has published racist and anti-Semitic diatribes in his political newsletters. Every sentient political activist in the United States knows these things. Why didn’t the WikiLeaks Party of Australia consult with your supporters in the United States before giving support to utterly discredited US politicians such as the two Pauls? Rand Paul has stated that he opposes abortion even in case of rape or incest! How could the WikiLeaks Party of Australia – to say nothing of Julian Assange himself – be so blind as to have extended their political support to these woman- and immigrant-hating cretins?
We understand how difficult it is for (perhaps) previously relatively apolitical people to attempt to create a new political party from scratch. The Occupy Wall St. movement experienced many of the same issues as you have experienced due to their very similar and equally Sisyphean attempt to include representatives of all political classes in one single political movement. Politics is not a game for amateurs; hundreds of millions of lives hang in the balance of political decisions being made by national governments. We take politics very seriously for precisely this reason: you should too. If these statements by Julian Assange and these preferences published by WLPA reflect your actual political positions, then we are very glad that you have come forward and openly laid your political cards on the table. The working class, however always hold aces in these situations. The WikiLeaks Party needs the working class; the reverse is not at all the case.
We have stated before that we as the “Friends of WikiLeaks Chicago” have no duty to support the WikiLeaks Party of Australia in any way. These statements made by Julian Assange require that we go further than that: we are now openly opposing a vote to the WikiLeaks Party of Australia and will actively, publicly oppose your party unless you – somehow! – reverse these suicidal political acts you have committed. We hope you comprehend the serious damage Julian Assange’s statements and your entirely politically consistent political preferencing of the Australia First Party over several working-class parties (we’re not talking about the Greens) has done to the reputation of every worker-activist who has stood up in defense of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
We will await your response to this email before we make any more public statements about this controversy – aside from immediately publishing this email. We are pursuing our own research into these questions and will be carefully examining all official documentation that we can obtain from you regarding these issues. If you have copies of your actual preferencing statements please send them to us so we can immediately review them. This is a very serious issue that may very well have a long-term impact on our ability and willingness to continue running our “Friends of WikiLeaks Chicago” websites. We will still defend WikiLeaks and the work that it has done to expose the lies and criminality of the U.S. capitalist class; but it is up to you to live up to your goals of transparency. You need to release true and accurate copies of your preferencing statements immediately; and you need to clarify your stance on abortion rights for women as well as on immigrant rights and racism.
We look forward to your reply.
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago
Julian Assange statement of admiration for U.S. Senators Ron and Rand Paul:
Ron Paul – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul
Rand Paul – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Paul
Australia First Party – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_First_Party
WikiLeaks Party preferencing statements:
WikiLeaks Party of Australia statement: https://www.facebook.com/WLParty/posts/460112957419605