[LINK] Wikileak founder's passport cancelled

Steven Clark steven.clark at internode.on.net
Mon May 17 23:54:26 AEST 2010

On 17/05/2010 9:10 AM, Jan Whitaker wrote:
> [I don't understand. Does this mean he's a political prisoner in 
> Australia? How can a country cancel a passport without charges? Do we 
> know if he now has a new passport? Was this just a beat-up by Fairfax?]
> http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/australian-wikileak-founders-passport-confiscated-20100516-v6dw.html
> Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower website 
> Wikileaks, says he had his passport taken away from him at Melbourne 
> Airport and was later told by customs officials that it was about to 
> be cancelled

I've been awaiting more information before commenting. The little I/we
have so far doesn't suggest he's received more attention or different
treatment than any other Australian who (a) has a well-used/travelled
passport, or (b) has a criminal record in Australia.

The very little I have been able to glean so far, from the small
avalanche of articles all re-publishing the same few details, is that
Assange has a passport that looks 'worn'. There has been nothing in any
of the reporting so far that suggests that he would not be able to
obtain a replacement passport.

Full and damaged passports are cancelled routinely. Applications to
replace them, and the subsequent issue of new passports, are also
routine. Cancellation is not Revocation. Cancellation means the current
document is no longer viable/valid. It does not mean the passport
holder/bearer is no longer legally entitled to an Australian passport -
just that the current document is dead, and an application for a new one
is required.

Methinks the interest here is Assange, rather than his poor bedraggled
passport :D

I am, nonetheless, interested to learn more - and am particularly
interested in the privacy and the security aspects, should more come to

On an historical note: the well-trod notion that Australian's have a
right to a passport is legally tenuous - Commonwealth governments have
refused to issue passports to Australian citizens on a number of
occasions in the past. So far, Assange does not appear to be one of
those people.

Steven R Clark, BSc(Hons) LLB/LP(Hons) /Flinders/, MACS

PhD Candidate & Sessional Academic
School of Commerce, Division of Business
City West Campus, University of South Australia (UniSA)

Deputy Director, Economic, Legal and Social Issues Committee (ELSIC)
Community Engagement Board (CEB)
Australian Computer Society (ACS)

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