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Assange washes hands in election row

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Julian Assange has weighed out of the row in Australia over the Wikileaks Party's preference allocation for the upcoming election.

In an interview with Perth radio station RTR-FM, the embassy-dwelling one said decisions about preference distribution (in which the party choose where preference votes go, in what's known as above-the-line ballots) were the responsibility of party candidates and/or officers.

In fact, it almost seems as if he didn't find time to read the preference distributions before they were filed with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC): “I wasn't personally involved”, Assange told the radio station. “The Wikileaks Party is a party, it's not a plaything – it's not Julian Assange.”

In Western Australia, the Wikileaks Party preferences flow to a National Party candidate, Aborigine David Wirripanda, ahead of The Greens' Wikileaks-supporting and Internet-savvy Scott Ludlam. Assange played an affirmative-action card, passing on an explanation given by Gerry Georgatos (Wikileaks' lead candidate in WA).

“Gerry Georgiatos, the Senate candidate in WA, says is that there was not a decision to preference the Nats [Nationals], there is a decision to preference Wirrapanda just before Senator Scott Ludlam,” he said.

“Wirrapanda, well he's an Australian Aboriginal* and I'm told he doesn't have any chance of getting elected relative to Scott Ludlam. This was an important symbolic gesture, to put Wirrapanda in the preference list, to recognise him,” Assange went on.

The situation in NSW, where a party with neo-Nazi links received a surprisingly high placement due to what the party later called an “administrative error”, Assange had no new information to add.

“We're not sure what happened in NSW,” he said, before hinting at a possible flick-pass to the AEC. “We don't know whether that was the Australian Electoral Commission or exactly what the confusion is there, that's being looked at,” he said. ®

*Yes, Vulture South is aware that it would have been more correct to say "Australian Aborigine". The quote is verbatim. ®

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