back to article Wikileaks founder relieved of passport in Oz

More apparent evidence last week of Australian government sensitivity to criticism, as immigration officials relieve Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of his passport on arrival at Melbourne airport. Immigration officials reportedly told Australian newspaper The Age that Assange's passport is classified as 'normal' on the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Bit of wally really!

    What kind of plank seriously embarrasses a major world government then flies there?! I know you shouldn't bow-down to everyone, but use a little bit of sense for flips sake!

    1. Velv


      "What kind of plank seriously embarrasses a major world government then flies there?! "

      The kind who holds an Australian passport, so unless he has dual nationality, it is the ONLY country in the world required to accept him.

    2. Justin 15 Silver badge

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.


      "...a major world government.."


  2. lglethal Silver badge

    Theres only one part of this which is a worry...

    Sorry but there is really only one part of this which is a worry and thats the customs operative who came up and said that the passport has now been or will be shortly cancelled. Im quite certain this is very much against the law, to threaten to cancel or to cancel without notice or reason an Australian citizens passport.

    Unless of course, this is really just headline grabbing and what actually happened was the customs operative turned around and said "look you do realise your passport is due to expire in a few months, yeah?"

    Everything else is standard procedure, if you enter Aus (or many other countries) with a ratty passport your bound to have the passport taken and checked (I personally get stopped everytime i enter the UK, and i also have been stopped in India (of all places!) for having a ratty passport!). If you have a criminal record you are likely to be asked questions about it. Doesnt matter if it was 5 years ago or 15, nor does it matter what it is. The system flags you up as having a criminal record you can expect to be asked questions.

    And Assange saying he feels unsafe in Australia is just stupid, if he doesnt feel safe in Aus i fail to think of a single country he would feel safe in.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Safe country

      How about Mexico? At least there you would get a free drink for embarassing the Gringos, even if you are one.

      And, of course, you can just buy off the cops and carry a (bigger) gun then the ones you can't buy off.

      Its not a matter of feeling "safe" as in not having to defend yourself; its feeling "safe" in the way that the government doesn't allow you to defend yourself except under its (cosntantly changing politically expedient and convenient) rules...

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge


      He probably doesn't feel safe in Australia because of the rampant police corruption. It went on historically and it still goes on now, albeit not at quite the same level. as a recent example.

      Another one being the "unnoticed for 10 minutes whilst it was carried out" murder of Carl Williams in a high security prison with full CCTV coverage. The guy's body was dragged from one room to another without the security personnel watching the CCTV noticing. Yeah, right!

      Australia isn't the land of milk and honey it makes itself out to be. There's plenty of political corruption too. The two generally dovetail quite well. is an example of political corruption.

      The fact that the Government also tried to prosecute him before the AFP stated the obvious that whatever he did wasn't done in Australia probably has a bit to do with it as well.

      He probably wasn't referring to fears for his safety in reference to street crime unless he was thinking of going out for a drink on a Saturday night in Surfer's Paradise.

      1. Steve Roper

        Re: Safety

        Actually, acts that are against Australian law committed by Australian citizens while overseas, even if the acts are legal in the other country, are still prosecutable; Australian citizens are bound to comply with Australian law regardless of their location.

        For example, if an Australian citizen goes over to the Philippines and has sex with a 12-year-old (which is legal there within certain restrictions*), he will be arrested as a child molester as soon as he returns to Australia, even though he was not in Australia at the time and the act was legal under Philippines law. Conversely, if a Philippines citizen who has had sex with a 12-year-old at home enters Australia, he can't be arrested or tried, since he's obviously not subject to Australian law in his home country.

        Similarly, if publishing the blacklist were a criminal offence in Australia (which I don't think it is yet, because the censorship bill has not yet passed), then Julian Assange could certainly be tried for it here even though he published it while overseas, simply because he's an Australian citizen bound by Australian law. If he wasn't, only then would there be nothing the police could do.

        *, see footnote 13.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Thumb Up


          Actually Steve i think you will find its only certain crimes which you can be tried for in Australia for committing overseas - child abuse/pornography, money laundering and organised crime come to mind but i dont think you can be tried in Aus for things like theft or burglary. However, you will more then likely be extradited to said country to face your crime...

  3. Arkasha
    Dead Vulture

    Careful Reg

    Too much critiscm of the Oz overlords and you'll be added to that blocklist.

  4. Chris Hatfield

    Wikileaks has very, very powerful enemies

    I don't envy his position. This seems like blatant persecution; I hope the Aussie news media can help by exposing such abuse of power. The guy is a hero!

    1. Annwyn

      Aussie media & truth in the same sentence...

      You've got to be kidding me! They're almost as good at making s**t up as the Gov is.

      You can't always believe everything the media tells you, you know.

      Sensationalism = ratings = money!

  5. Captain Save-a-ho
    Thumb Up

    Geniuses running the show?

    "On the other hand, given the chaos that appears to be in full flow at the Department for Communication, it is possible that this is all just more of the same incompetence."

    There's no point in giving governments credit for intelligence that really is just incompetence. Government officials that demonstrate their intelligence are the exception, not the rule.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Traditional' pornography?

    How does one define that? Is it the kind where the men all look like Kevin Keegan with a moustache and none of the ladies use Immac?

  7. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Punishing and suppressing decent

    @"On the other hand, given the chaos that appears to be in full flow at the Department for Communication"

    Government progress (as they call it) tends for the most part to be stochastic, (due to people with competing interests fighting for their views) but even in that apparent noise, there is an overall signal pushing in a given direction (which is the result of the most powerful people who are able to dominate that particular government getting more (on average) of their own way). So out of the apparent chaos comes an overall theme and that theme is to help supporters and punish opponents even though most of that punishment and suppression is via making peoples lives a bit more difficult.

    The Australian government sees the Wikileaks founder as an opponent and they won't stand for that and they have the power to make his life more difficult for him.

  8. The Vociferous Time Waster


    Is he trying to make things sound a lot more interesting than they actually are?

    So he embarrasses people, that hardly makes you an enemy of the state; I suspect most governments have more pressing things to attend to than some odious twonk who leaks stuff on the web.

    Fail for the commentards who believe this rubbish.

    1. Steve Roper

      I have to say it...

      ...Obvious troll is obvious.

  9. Michael Jennings

    This is probably just Australians being Australians

    I'm an Australian citizen, and I spent a couple of years traveling around with a ratty Australian passport after it got wet. Mostly, officials just treated it like any other passport, but occasionally someone asked what happened to it. The only times I was given trouble were when leaving Poland, when an official felt the need to look at it with a magnifying glass in between accusing me of working illegally in Poland because I had visited the country three times in two years, and when I was leaving Australia, when an annoying official did pretty much exactly what was described in this article. He took it away from me and took it somewhere else for a while, and came back and gave me a lecture about how "This is unacceptable at an international level" (No, I don't know what that sentence means either") and (rant rant rant). I don't think he threatened to cancel the passport (although he did tell me to get a new one), but Australian officials being a colossal pain in the arse over things like this is standard procedure.

    I certainly don't approve of the fact that Australian officials are unpleasant bureaucratic arseholes, but I also don't think it is likely anything sinister was going on here.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Scratch the word 'Australian' there.

      Most 'officials' are unpleasant bureaucratic arseholes. Principally because they do the sort of jobs normal folk wouldn't want to, but petty knob-washers do.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Australia is one of several countries where he feels unsafe

    Perhaps for the sake of the rest of us, he could post the list of countries where he does feel safe?

    Obviously anonymous, because otherwise my passport may suddenly be revoked and I may not be able to get to safe haven...

    1. Mr Humphries
      Big Brother


      OTTOMH he said Iceland and Mexico in one of the recent interviews.

  11. JohnG


    Perhaps they needed to make a copy of his passport to give to Mossad.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's pretty normally to be treated poorly by customs officers. It does sound like pretty standard procedure for anyone with a criminal record. Not that that means it's any more fair.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'prof' has always had patchy relations with legal authorities

    As the 1991 charges show. Nothing to do with wikileaks necessarily, may just be that he's always been dodgy.

  14. Barry Mahon
    Black Helicopters

    Is Oz overzealous??

    A friend of mine was stopped last wek in Mb on a flight from Saigon, 'cos he was an "illegal" 'cos he had overstayed his previous visit by one day, wasn't stopped on exit and and was never informed. My niece, who is married to an Oz, was only allowed back in with her kids 'on sympathy grounds' 'cos her resident visa was out of date, all though she had never been informed it had to be renewed every five years and it had no date on it...

    One gets the impression that in recent times the law in Oz is overzealous in general and in respect of immmigration in particular.

    OTOH there is obviously a sensitivity to criticism....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not required

      my own experience is that residence visa's have start dates in them. When they are granted the accompanying documentation (and all the forms you have to fill in when applying) state very clearly that they last for 5years, even if they say "permanent residence" on them.

      While I'm sure your niece's situation but have been quite traumatic for her and her kids at the time the excuse of "not knowing" as no-one had told her is her own fault - people should take more personal responsibility. The fact that they let her back in on "sympathy grounds" is actually something to be grateful for, I'm sure a lot of countries would have said "no visa, no entry".

      Anyway, if she's been there for at least 2 years in that 5, she can apply for citzenship (unless they have changed the rules again).

  15. Kevin (Just Kevin)

    They didn't block the dentist

    Well, firstly, they didn't block anybody. It was a list. Nobody knows WHAT it was a list of, it was a list. Clearly of "bad" material but how it was produced, for what purpose and based on what criteria, nobody knows.

    BUT the bit that annoys me about the continued quoting of the dentist thing is that the dentist's website was not listed. A single URL deep in his site was listed. And it was listed because it had child porn on it. He didn't put it there. Apparently, it had been hacked by some Russian porn ring. And that, deep link, where the child porn was, was on the list.

    I don't support the filter. But I hate the way falsehoods are used to form the argument. There are so many better things to shout about in the space than misquotes about dentists.

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