As whistleblower website WikiLeaks continues to release confidential cables, Federal Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou told Neos Kosmos she supports the release of classified information.
“If you believe in the principles of freedom of expression, the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know, then you cannot pick and choose,” she said.
Last week, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the release of internal US cables by WikiLeaks was based on an illegal act, but has since insisted the illegal act was the theft of the material by a junior US serviceman, rather than Assange’s website publishing the leaks.
“What I would say about the publication of the WikiLeaks information is it’s grossly irresponsible,” she added.
Ms Vamvakinou told Neos Kosmos on Thursday that support for Wikileaks concerned Australians on both sides of the political divide.
“It has been portrayed that support for Assange and WikiLeaks is only a matter of concern for the political left. This is wrong,” she said.
Hundreds protested in Sydney and Melbourne this week in support of Mr Assange and his controversial website.
Ms Vamvakinou said they were not the only ones concerned.
“Overall the Australian public support the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press,” she said.
“It is an insult to Australians to suggest that only a minority angst and protest over democratic freedom.”
Asked whether Ms Gillard should be doing more to support Mr Assange, Ms Vamvakinou said consular assistance has been given.
“Mr Assange is an Australian citizen,” she said.
“The Australian public expects its government to protect and uphold the rights of its Australian citizens.”
This week, some of the nation’s most senior media professionals wrote to Ms Gillard to express their support for WikiLeaks.
Mr Assange is in England, where he was granted bail on Friday morning.
The ABC reports Mr Assange and his lawyers insist that moves to extradite him to Sweden to face questioning over allegations he sexually assaulted two women are politically motivated.