The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Mr Assange received his new Australian passport in September 2018. The passport has gone unreported until now.
It’s an important development for Mr Assange amid reports the Ecuadorian government, which has housed him in its London embassy since 2012 after Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in a rape case, may be preparing to end his political asylum.
Swedish prosecutors announced in 2017 that they had closed the rape investigation.
The new passport makes it possible for Mr Assange to return to Australia. He has been without a passport after his previous one expired several years ago.
Australian barrister and adviser to Mr Assange, Greg Barns, said credit was owed to Australia’s former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who he said had gone to great lengths to ensure Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen were upheld by being granted a passport.
Ms Bishop announced yesterday that she was quitting parliament at the next election.
Mr Barns said it was time for the Morrison government to get more active in resolving Mr Assange’s situation.
“The Australian Government does have a role to play in the resolution of Julian Assange’s case,” he said.
Despite his isolation, Mr Assange continues to be at the centre of some of the world’s biggest news stories and has hosted celebrity visitors within the Ecuadorian embassy, including actor Pamela Anderson.
Most notably, Mr Assange and Wikileaks have been key elements of the US Justice Department probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller which is examining whether any members of the Trump 2016 campaign conspired with Russian operatives to influence the presidential election by hacking Democrat Party emails to damage candidate Hillary Clinton’s prospects.
Wikileaks released embarrassing emails from the heart of the Democratic campaign during the 2016 campaign, fuelling suspicion Mr Assange was working in concert with Russian interests.
The question now is would this be a game changer in muller witch-hunt on Trump? Should we expect more revelations that would knock the vindicate Trump or implicate him? Our hands are on deck as we wait.