Connect to share and comment
Julian Assange says he will not publicly address Swedish sex allegations before his bid for office in Australia because "Australian men don't like to talk about their private lives".
Assange, standing for election to the upper house in September 7 national polls, also said Australian men did not bad-mouth their lovers, when asked whether he would explain himself to voters on the sex crime claims that have seen him holed up in London's Ecuadoran embassy for more than a year.
"Unfortunately, to a degree, I am an Australian and therefore Australian men don't like talking about their private lives," the former computer hacker said in an online election forum published by Fairfax Media on Thursday.
"They don't like saying bad things about their lovers. I'm not going to do that."
Assange has been living inside Ecuador's embassy since June 2012 as he fights extradition from Britain to Sweden, where authorities want to question him over alleged sex crimes.
The activist has voiced fears that he will be sent on to the United States to be tried over huge leaks of sensitive diplomatic correspondence and material on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
He told the Fairfax forum, conducted Wednesday, he had "nothing to hide" on the Sweden allegations and there was "extensive information about the case" available at the site justice4assange.com.
"I have not been charged. It's an extraordinary situation that someone could be detained for three years without charge. That's part of the abuses in this case," he said.
Assange acknowledged that he is not a typical politician, with questions over whether he will even be able to assume his Senate seat if he wins given his status in the embassy, but said he still felt that he could connect with voters.
"As an individual I haven't just been an activist... I understand what it's like to be a father, to start small businesses, to have problems of many different kinds," he said.
"I think Australians can relate to that sort of character. Even though I'm in a very unusual position for sure, I've also had the life experiences that many Australians have had."
Assange is one of seven candidates running for election to the Senate for his WikiLeaks Party, which has vowed to be an "independent scrutineer of government activity" on a range of issues including tax reform, asylum-seekers and climate change policy.
The Australian whistleblower believes he stands a good chance of winning his seat, saying this week that polling numbers are positive.