blog Your writer has been fairly suspicious of the WikiLeaks Party over the past six months or so since it was formed. Is the party purely a vehicle for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to get elected to the Federal Senate, and thus earn himself a ticket out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London? Or is it a legitimate new political movement in Australia, which will achieve legitimacy beyond Assange personally? It’s been hard to tell. However, revelations that the party botched its preferences arrangements in NSW have swung us away from believing the party is legitimate. Further damaging its reputation today is the news that one of its high-profile candidates, ethicist and novelist Leslie Cannold, will quit the party, alleging dodgy behaviour internally. Cannold’s letter on the issue, released to the public, states:
“As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party’s own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore. This is anunacceptable mode of operation for any organisation but even more so for an organisation explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.
Even if I stop campaigning this minute, remaining in my role implicitly invites voters to trust The Wikileaks Party. By staying in this role I am implicitly vouching for the worthiness of this party to receive the votes of the Australian people. I can no longer do this because I no longer believe it is true, and so I must resign.”
To be honest, I feel as though this is the kind of thing which all new political parties go through as they try and establish their overall direction and come together as a group. I’m sure if you went back to the formation of any major Australian political party, or indeed any political party globally, you’d see similar skullduggery. The situation is particularly difficult because WikiLeaks’ nominal leader, Julian Assange, is not in Australia and able to keep it on the straight and narrow. It will be interesting to see if the WikiLeaks Party is able to survive the Federal Election, and, if so, how long it will stick around for afterwards. Cannold was probably the party’s most high-profile recruit. It will take a fair bit to restore confidence in it after this.