Australia

Dec 20, 2010

Essential: voters support WikiLeaks and Assange, attack Gillard’s stance

Most Australians support the release of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, say Julian Assange should receive legal support and are critical of the federal government's rhetoric on the issue, new polling reveals.

Jason Whittaker — Former <em>Crikey</em> editor and publisher

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

Most Australians support the release of the WikiLeaks cables, say that Julian Assange should receive legal support, and are critical of the federal government's rhetoric on the issue, new polling reveals. And support for Assange and the diplomatic document leaks is largely uniform across party lines, with Labor and Coalition voters approving the right of WikiLeaks to release the highly sensitive information. A weekly online poll from Essential Research found more than half of voters approve of the release of the cables (33% approve; 20% strongly approve), compared to a quarter who expressed concern (14% disapprove; 11% strongly). Support for WikiLeaks was, not surprisingly, highest among Greens voters (80% total approval) but still strong across party lines -- 55% of Labor voters approve in total compared to 51% of Liberal/National supporters. Disapproval ratings were the same (30% in total) across both sides of politics.

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There is similar levels of support for Assange, the bailed WikiLeaks founder who faces r-pe allegations in Sweden and the prospect of espionage charges under US law. Half of respondents say Assange should receive support and assistance from the Australian government if he is charged with an offence -- 76% of Greens voters, 52% of Labor voters and 50% of conservatives. About a quarter of those polled believe Assange shouldn't receive legal and consular support -- 29% Labor and 27% among Coalition voters. Support for Assange manifests in criticism of the government's handling of the issue. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called the WikiLeaks dump "grossly irresponsible" and "illegal", apparently  isolating the majority of Australians who support WikiLeaks. Asked about the government's response, 46% were critical (27% disapprove; 19% strongly disapprove) compared to 32% who back Gillard's rhetoric. Criticism comes mostly from Greens voters (66% disapprove) and Coalition supporters (54%), but resentment is still high among Labor voters -- 38% disapprove of the stance compared to 45% who support the government.

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13 comments

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13 thoughts on “Essential: voters support WikiLeaks and Assange, attack Gillard’s stance

  1. lovethebuzz

    I certainly hope that the wikileaks soap opera apart is stirring you all into asking the question, why we are paying for these clowns ( 3 tiers of government and various assorted quangos ) inevitably to follow the agenda of the highest bidder / corporation / or dominant regional sociopolitical bias and to lie to us about their motives and methods.
    This is the the current business of government , you got to love it.

  2. Michael

    What I find so interesting in these figures is the clear merging of opinion between Left & Right of politics.
    It is also a very clear rebuttal of media information.
    The populace want facts and they don’t get that from Crikey or News or Fairfax or ABC or etc.
    Long Live Assange!! And may his rising signal the downfall of mainstream media who wouldn’t know fact from fiction.

    VIVA ASSANGE !!

  3. Liz45

    @LOVETHEBUZZ – Why indeed? Did you hear the latest on ABC PM? Joe Biden is carrying on a treat, pushing the espionage buttons etc. Poor dear, now he’s being told by foreign ministers etc around the world, that they only want to talk to him without the office staff etc diplomats etc? Poor dear, now he has to take notes I suppose? Rather demeaning for a vice pres no doubt? Now he might have to earn his keep – do some work! His stance re espionage is, that if Julian asked? someone in the military to pass on secret records etc, it’s worse than just reporting them? Truly! No wonder the yanks earn their reputation for being ignorant and thick? Are they so far up themselves that they lose all sense of reality in the world the rest of us live in?

    I can’t wait for Wikileaks to get up to 2001? ‘Behind closed doors’ and ‘the road to war’ and the Iraq war, lies and statistics? WMD’s and the Downing Street Memo, not to mention AWB! Hurry up julian!

  4. Liz45

    @MICHAEL – I’ll drink to that! Are you the same Michael having a go at me on another post? About being a “hater” or is there more than one of you?

  5. MLF

    I’m astonished at the VP’s comments. Obviously he can be a bit of a loose canon, but either he’s got something in the bag so the words are a real warning shot to Wikileaks – or this a spectacularly foolish instance of verbal incontinence which will bring down the Administration’s generally dignified public stance so far.

  6. yolanda sencariuc

    Look at Rupert’s flagship mouthpiece for the opinion article by Julian Assange by Brendan O’Neill. His comment that “WIDE-EYED, unquestioning worship of Julian Assange is embarrassing and creepy.” could well have been applied to the years when the Murdoch press repeatedly expressed WIDE-EYED, unquestioning worship of George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard and the WMD assertions.

  7. kennethrobinson2

    I feel that Congresswoman Dillard should be called Pinnacio, her nose is definitely getting bigger every-time she lies, which is often.
    Her loyalty to an Australian citizen, is straight out of the WHITEHOUSE

  8. chokes

    Anybody whingeing about the release of confidential information is clutching at straws for a reason to complain. 3 million people had access to this stuff. That is nearly 1 in every 100 Americans. This information was common knowledge that just wasn’t commonly distributed.

    When you share a secret, it is no longer a secret. When you share a secret with 3 million people, it is ludicrous to then suggest it remains a secret. Politicians insult peoples’ intelligence when they make this claim. Tough luck if a nation, banker or corporation is seen to look like liars or at the very least, misinformants.

    The Australian banking system nearly collapsed in 2008. Two Australian banks secured a secret loan from the US Federal Reserve. National Australia Bank borrowed USD$4.5 billion from the US Federal Reserve during 2008 and 2009. Westpac Bank needed USD$1.09 billion in 2008 and 2009. This information only now became available after the Dodd/Frank bill was passed in the US.

    Without the direct financial support of the US Federal Reserve, Westpac and NAB would have gone belly up. Taxpayers would have to have funded the banks debt. If that information had been made available to the shareholders or the public, do you really think the Gillard Govt. would have clawed its’ way back into power?

    For corroborating evidence, download the excel file here: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/reform_taf.htm.

    Q: Based on the foregoing, who does Gillard & her Govt. take orders from?
    A: The US Govt. MalAdministration.

    In Conclusion: If US Attorney General Eric Holder say WikiLeaks is “illegal” then Gillard & McClelland must also say WikiLeaks is “illegal”.

    Henry Kissinger once said “Corrupt politicians make the other 10% look bad.”

    Follow the Money & May the Leaks be with You.

    (check out how much the Swedish Central Bank borrowed & ask yourself who do they take orders from.)

    Joe Biden claims WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a “high-tech terrorist”. (Yawn.)
    Move over Sarah Pailin, there is a new contender for the title of Patron Saint of Low IQ Americans.

    Joe is not too bright . . . well dressed, but not bright.

  9. MLF

    @Chokes: “3 million people had access to this stuff. That is nearly 1 in every 100 Americans…”

    Evidence please.

  10. chokes

    MLF pedantically enquires for ‘evidence’ . . . .

    Your attention please:-

    ‘More than 3 million US government personnel and soldiers, many extremely junior, are cleared to have potential access to this material, even though the cables contain the identities of foreign informants, often sensitive contacts in dictatorial regimes. Some are marked “protect” or “strictly protect”.’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cable-leak-diplomacy-crisis

    and there’s more where that came from . . .

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