Australian MPs meet with controversial Republican congresswoman

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A delegation of ​Australian federal politicians from across the political spectrum has met with controversial Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene during a trip to lobby the US government to end its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Greene posted a photo to social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, with former ​Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, Victorian teal independent Monique Ryan, Labor MP Tony Zappia, Liberal senator Alex Antic and Greens senators Peter Whish-Wilson and David Shoebridge.

US Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green (front) during a meeting with the group of Australian MPs from across the political spectrum.Credit:

Greene said the group discussed the “inhumane” detention of Assange.

“I will work with our allies in Australia to return Assange home, where his fellow citizens support his release ,” she said.

”Julian Assange’s charges should be dropped and he should be pardoned.”

The far-right Republican from Georgia has been criticised for peddling conspiracy theories about 9/11, the Sandy Hook school shooting and the 2020 US election.

Greene has labelled Black Lives Matter “the most powerful domestic terrorist organisation within inside the United States”, and has written and infamously theorised about Jewish space lasers starting the 2018 California wildfires.

Last month, the congresswoman told The Atlanta Journal Constitution she would “very heavily” consider any offer to be the running mate of former US president Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination for the 2024 US election.

The Australian delegation of six members of parliament travelled to Washington to lobby officials from the State and Justice departments to drop charges against Assange, who’s being held in London’s Belmarsh prison, and allow him to be sent home by Christmas.

“We’ve made it very clear that the continued prosecution of Julian Assange is not the action of a friend of Australia,” Greens senator David Shoebridge told this masthead, adding that extradition would be “a blow to the relationship between Australia and the United States”.

Assange, an Australian national, has been charged with 17 counts of breaching the US Espionage Act, plus a separate hacking-related charge.

The charges relate to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of cables detailing war crimes committed by the US government in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan. If found guilty, he is facing a maximum jail sentence of 175 years.

After being granted political asylum in 2012, Assange lived in London’s Ecuadorian embassy until 2019. When disputes led to the offer of asylum being withdrawn, he was arrested by police and has been imprisoned in the United Kingdom for the four years since.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong have previously said the case against Assange had gone on too long and needed to come to a conclusion. In May, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also backed this position.

With Farrah Tomazin, AAP

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