As the WikiLeaks Party, or whatever is left of it, has discovered, party politics involves difficult choices about internal organisation, decision-making processes and coping with how real-world politics can confound even the most principled people. The result has been the implosion of a party that purported to hold itself to the highest principles of transparency and accountability.

That implosion has been seized upon with glee by more established parties, and confirmed the doubts of many who believed a publisher, albeit one as novel as WikiLeaks, had no business entering politics.

Would-be senator Julian Assange’s response to that — that a WikiLeaks Party would serve the same goals of governmental and political transparency that he served as a publisher — should not be dismissed. For too long, and especially since the reaction to 9/11, Australian governments and agencies have been too secretive, too prone to use their extensive powers to avoid scrutiny, too resistant to basic democratic accountability. The idea of a party committed to remedying that is a worthwhile one, although other parties such as the Greens and the Pirate Party are already in the same space.

As it turns out, however, it was on the issues of transparency and accountability that the WikiLeaks Party has come asunder.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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