PEACE OUT: Graeme Dunstan and Bec Horridge with the #FreeAssange banner outside the Rockhampton courthouse.
PEACE OUT: Graeme Dunstan and Bec Horridge with the #FreeAssange banner outside the Rockhampton courthouse. Allan Reinikka ROK030818adunstan

The father of Nimbin says it's time to free Julian Assange

HE'S become a regular visitor passing through Rockhampton - a travelling nomad sharing his anti-authoritarian message, peacefully and politely.

Yesterday the banner in front of Rockhampton Courthouse read "End the persecution, Bring him home! #FreeAssange".

Graeme Dunstan was bearing witness for Julian Assange, the man he calls "an Australian hero of extraordinary dimensions".

Now 75 and with no home base, Mr Dunstan has spent the past 20 years as a nomad, travelling in his 'Peacebus' - code for a series of beat up old vehicles - as he spreads his brand of peace.

He says he's fully funded by the old age pension and "all those heroic unionists who fought for a good deal for the old people".

"An active life on the pension has given me a lot of freedom to speak my mind and courthouses are appropriate places to be raising community concerns about justice," he said.

A Buddhist with a Christian background - he says 18 years in Sunday school doesn't go away - Mr Dunstan is no stranger to protest.

He co-directed the Aquarius Festival in Nimbin in 1973, which has been described as Australia's equivalent to Woodstock and the birthplace for this country's hippie movement.

 

Graeme Dunstan at Havachat in Rockhampton working on a puppet of the mayor's head for a previous protest
Graeme Dunstan at Havachat in Rockhampton working on a puppet of the mayor's head for a previous protest

Yesterday it was all about Julian Assange.

"He is a valiant campaigner for the truth," Mr Dunstan said.

"His WikiLeaks have, among other things, undone US Iraq War propaganda and foiled the election bid of war hawk Hilary Clinton for the US presidency.

"He has been persecuted by government agencies threatening prosecution, though no charges have ever been laid.

"For six years, he has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The UN panel ruled that he had been 'arbitrarily detained' and should be allowed to walk free and meanwhile his tenancy at the Ecuadorian Embassy has become uncertain."

Mr Dunstan says the Australian government is reluctant to act due to pressure from US intelligence agencies.

"They are the masters of secrets and he's the enemy, the liberator of secrets," he said.

"They want him silenced."

Yesterday Mr Dunstan was unperturbed that no-one turned out to his protest.

He knew the banner in Rockhampton's main street couldn't be missed by the hundreds of passing cars.

He'd made his point and never in one place for long, the Peace Bus headed for Bowen.



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