Current track




Assange’s dad shares plans for son

Written by on June 26, 2024

Julian Assange’s father hopes his son will take a year off to appreciate “the beauty of ordinary life” as the WikiLeaks founder is hours from touching down in Australia.

Mr Assange is in the western Pacific US territory of the Northern Mariana Islands to front a US court on Wednesday, the hearing scheduled for 9am AEST.

He is expected to plead guilty to a single felony of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information, a violation under the US Espionage Act.

The 62 months Mr Assange has spent in a UK prison is expected to fulfil the penalty he will be sentenced to, and from there he is expected to fly home to Australia.

Speaking to the Today show on Wednesday morning, Mr Assange’s father John Shipton said he wanted his son to feel the sand of a beach between his toes.

“Julian hasn’t been home in 16 years. So it’s really a joyous day for us,” Mr Shipton said.

Questioned on what Mr Assange would likely do once he was officially a free man, Mr Shipton said he hoped his son would learn to appreciate “the beauty of ordinary life”.

“Learning again how to walk along the beach and feel the sand come through your feet. And playing with his kids and learning how to have the patience to play with your kids for a few hours. That sort of thing. Ordinary life really.”

Mr Assange fathered two children, born in 2017 and 2019, with his wife Stella Assange while he was an asylum seeker in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Mr Shipton was waiting at a Canberra tourist park Wednesday morning, awaiting instruction from the federal government on what happens when Mr Assange’s plane touches down.

Mr Assange has travelled from London, to Bangkok, then to the US territory which is 2600kms east of Manila.

Footage from the Saipan courthouse shows Mr Assange arriving about 8am AEST on Wednesday to accept the plea deal, flanked by ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd.The jet he has travelled across the worlds in is scheduled to land in Canberra tonight.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the US legal system needed to run its course, and would not comment on the exact time Mr Assange would set foot on Australian soil.

“Irrespective of one’s view of what Mr. Assange originally did, he’s been incarcerated for a very long period of time and this is obviously a situation which needed legal resolution,” Mr Marles said on Channel 9 Tuesday morning.

“He’s been incarcerated for a long time … that’s why we’ve been advocating on his behalf.

“We’ve been working tirelessly on Mr Assange’s behalf these past few years,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This matter will be heard in a United States court this morning, and we’ll see what happens from there,” Mr Marles said.