With the Federal Election only a fortnight away, now really isn't the time to be having internal party divisions and accusations of incompetence. That, however, seems to be what Julian Assange and the Wikileaks Party standing in the 2013 Federal Election seem to be dealing with as a key member quits in a haze of irony.
The Wikileaks Party is all about preserving truth, accountability and aims to restore honesty back to the Australian Parliament, but that's not how Leslie Cannold sees it. Dr Cannold, an author and ethicist, is second on the ticket to Julian Assange in Victoria and yesterday quit the party over how it decided to distribute its preferences. Below is a quaint little video on how that all works if you're confused.
Dr Cannold said that her reasons for leaving came down to preferencing far-right wing candidates in NSW while preferencing the Nationals above long-time supporters of the party like Greens Senator, Scott Ludlum. These errors have been attributed to "administrative" issues, but that's not going to fly with the now-resigned Cannold.
"To keep being a candidate feels like I'm breaking faith with the Australian people, and those in the media who assist me to communicate with the public, many of whom I've had a long and respectful professional relationship with. This is because by being in this role I am implicitly making a statement that The Wikileaks Party is what it claims to be: a democratically run party that both believes in transparency and accountability, and operates in this way," she wrote in a statement yesterday (PDF).
The party promised an independent review of the preferencing bungle, but Cannold believes that it would neither be independent or conducted in a timely fashion.
"In direct contrast to the public statement The Wikileaks Party put out this morning in which we promised the public that we would have an immediate independent review of the preference outcomes, [a party member] said that the review would be delayed until after the election and that it wouldn’t be done independently. The [aforementioned member] would run it.
"This is the final straw. As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party's own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore," she wrote.
Cannold's resignation has given way to six more in the party, something Julian Assange calls "teething problems", adding that the party has fallen victim to his over-delegation.
He told the ABC:
"I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation and trying to save the life of a [Bradley Manning]. Now, the result is over-delegation, so I admit and I accept full responsibility for over-delegating functions to the Australian party while I tried to take care of those situations," Assange said.
Is it all over for the Wikileaks Party?