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1 August 2013
WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange will follow in the footsteps of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey in his first Google+ Hangout with the public this month.
The event on August 16th at 7:30pm (AEST) will be broadcast live at Deakin Edge and on the big screen at Melbourne's Federation Square.
Assange, who is a Senate candidate in the next federal election, will participate in the hangout from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has remained under diplomatic asylum for the last 13 months.
Deakin University and OurSay are inviting the public to post questions and vote online for the five questions they want Assange to answer on the night.
The #AskAssange forum is one of many forums OurSay, a Melbourne-based technology start-up, is running in the lead up to this year's federal election.
The authors of the five most popular questions will be invited to virtually 'hang-out' with Assange in the live-broadcast event via Deakin's YouTube page.
Deakin Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said the event was another novel example of Deakin taking public debate and informed discussion to where the people are, using digital technology.
“We are in a period of disruptive innovation in higher education where learning is no longer delivered exclusively through traditional lecture theatres to a couple of hundred students at a time,” she said.
“Today we have the opportunity to use emerging technologies to engage people wherever they are geographically, wherever they are in their learning preparedness and wherever they are in their career trajectory.”
Professor den Hollander said that Deakin was supporting the digital platform for the hangout to promote public discussion and debate but its involvement did not constitute endorsement of WikiLeaks policy platform.
“It is not our role to endorse either the people who are standing for elected office or their policies. Our role is to promote informed debate and the OurSay platform is an ideal format for this type of engagement which is entirely consistent with Deakin's mission to be a globally-connected university driving the digital frontier,” she said.
OurSay Chief Executive Eyal Halamish said, “OurSay is about giving people direct access to leaders in positions of power. Assange fits this and is someone who the public is very interested in questioning about his work.”
“With the formation of the WikiLeaks Party, Australians seem, now more than ever, interested in connecting with Julian Assange.
“We expect to see many questions about WikiLeaks, frank discussion of what he will do as a Senator and how the WikiLeaks principles will translate into politics,” Mr Halamish said.Members of the community are invited to either post questions for Julian Assange or vote for other peoples' questions at oursay.org/ask-assange.
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