Above photo: The tour launch in Melbourne.
John Shipton has started an eight-city speaking tour — the Home Run 4 Julian tour — in defence of his son Julian Assange who is still languishing in Belmarsh Prison.
The protest tour was launched on February 26 outside the State Library of Victoria. Shipton will travel through regional centres in New South Wales, Sydney and Canberra.
Support for Assange has been growing rapidly since a British court determined earlier this year that he should not be extradited to the United States to face 17 espionage charges arising from the Collateral Murder video release of 2010.
Shipton said he was pleased that this week Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese had added his voice to the calls for Assange’s freedom.
A convoy of three vans departed Melbourne to visit Castlemaine, Bendigo, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Katoomba, Sydney, Goulburn and then Canberra.
“Julian’s exposure of war crimes has changed the face of journalism,” Shipton said. “This was acknowledged by his numerous journalism awards, including Australia’s Walkley.
“All over the world, cross-party parliamentary groups and major human rights organisations are calling on the British government to release Julian immediately.
“It is well and truly overdue for the Australian government to add its voice.”
Shipton will speak outside Foreign Affairs Minister Marissa Payne’s office in Parramatta on March 11. On March 12, he will address the Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition rally in Martin Place in Sydney CBD.