Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addressed the Law Institute of Victoria, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and a number of prominent lawyers at a public meeting in Melbourne on Friday night (4 February).
Speaking from London via video-link, Assange told the audience that free speech was a "generational challenge" which can be compared with the feminist and US civil rights movements.
"For the internet generation, this is our challenge and this is our time. We support a cause that is no more radical a proposition than that the citizenry has a right to scrutinise the state."
Assange also called for the support of the Australian Government in brining him home, and said Prime Minister Julia Gillard is condoning illegal calls to have him and his staff killed through her "diplomatic silence".
In the lead-up to the event last week, Gordon Legal founder Peter Gordon told Lawyers Weekly he would be attending in order to support the principle of freedom of speech. "Like many others, I have been concerned by the heavy-handed reactions of governments, in particular the US Government, and their preparedness to invoke the spectre of criminal sanctions to suppress information."
Assange is due to appear in a UK court regarding Sweden's extradition attempts today.