Christopher Pyne Says Julian Assange 'Put A Lot Of People's Lives At Risk'

06/02/2016 4:18 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Yui Mok / PA via AP

If it’s one thing Labor and the Liberal Party agree on, it’s that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is "no hero”.

Well, at least Minister for Industry, Innovation Science, Christopher Pyne and Shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles.

Following a UN panel's finding that Mr Assange’s detention was 'unlawful', both Mr Pyne and Mr Marles have followed UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond in slamming the "ridiculous” ruling.

Mr Pyne and Mr Marles, speaking on their show Pyne Marles on Sky News, were quick to dismiss the notion Assange acted heroically.

“Julian Assange is no hero; what he’s done over the last few years is put a whole lot of peoples’ lives as risk, including Australian service personnel,” Mr Marles said.

Mr Pyne said: "That’s true -- the releasing of classified information, no matter how much some people who are libertarians think this is good for democracy, actually places people's lives at risk including australians .. intelligence agencies are trying to protect us."

On Friday, the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the UK and Swedish governments to allow Mr Assange freedom without fear of arrest and to afford him compensation over his "deprivation of liberty".

Mr Assange, 44, claims the UN decision -- that the UK and Sweden caused his "arbitrary detention" -- vindicates him. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

"We have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face and I hope to many others as well," Assange told reporters by video link from the embassy.

However, both governments rejected the UN’s ruling, stating Assange’s admission to the embassy was voluntary and that the activist must face justice in Sweden. He is likely to remain in the London embassy.

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