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Anthony Albanese is slammed over ‘inappropriate’ act after Julian Assange returned to Australia for the first time in more than a decade

Anthony Albanese’s phone call to Julian Assange shortly after his plane landed in Australia has been labeled ‘inappropriate’.

The Wikileaks founder, 52, landed in Canberra at 7.37pm on Wednesday, just hours after walking free in a US federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan.

The father of two reached a plea deal with the US government, admitting to one count of conspiracy in court. This ended a nearly fifteen-year legal battle with the US government, which saw him holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in Britain and later, incarcerated in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison.

Assange was warmly welcomed by the Australian Prime Minister upon arrival Down Under, personally thanking him for ‘saving his life’ during a pre-arranged phone call.

Albanese later told a news conference that Assange had expressed his gratitude during the phone call to what he described as Australia’s “diplomatic A-team.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese posted a photo of himself calling Julian Assange as he landed at a military airport in Canberra

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese posted a photo of himself calling Julian Assange as he landed at a military airport in Canberra

Assange, 52, landed in Canberra just before 8pm on Wednesday evening, just hours after walking free in a US federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan.

Assange, 52, landed in Canberra just before 8pm on Wednesday evening, just hours after walking free in a US federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan.

Assange, 52, landed in Canberra just before 8pm on Wednesday evening, just hours after walking free in a US federal court on the Pacific island of Saipan.

When he saw his wife Stella for the first time, the 52-year-old hugged and kissed her (pictured)

When he saw his wife Stella for the first time, the 52-year-old hugged and kissed her (pictured)

When he saw his wife Stella for the first time, the 52-year-old hugged and kissed her (pictured)

“When I spoke to Mr Assange this evening, he described it as a surreal and happy moment. I am very happy that this case is over,” Mr Albanese said.

“We know his safe return to Australia means so much to his family.”

But opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham branded Albanese’s call to Assange as “neither necessary nor appropriate” in an angry post to X.

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“Julian Assange was not unlawfully detained like Cheng Lei, Sean Turnell or Kylie Moore-Gilbert,” he wrote just after 9 p.m.

“For twelve years, Assange has chosen to avoid facing justice in countries with fair legal systems. He doesn’t deserve this treatment.’

Birmingham said the prime minister should “rule out” plans to meet Assange.

“The end of Julian Assange’s legal saga through his guilty plea is welcome,” he said. “However, he is not a martyr and has never been a political prisoner denied access to justice.”

Former NATO official Edward Christie tweeted: “People who choose to work against our governments… don’t deserve flowers from the Prime Minister when they get out of prison.”

Assange’s longtime lawyer Jennifer Robinson hit back at Birmingham on Thursday, saying he needed to “get his priorities straight.”

Mr Birmingham said Mr Albanese should 'rule out' plans to meet with Assange

Mr Birmingham said Mr Albanese should 'rule out' plans to meet Assange

Mr Birmingham said Mr Albanese should ‘rule out’ plans to meet with Assange

Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson (pictured), hit back at Mr Birmingham, saying he needed to

Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson (pictured) hit back at Birmingham, saying he needed to 'get his priorities straight' after criticizing the phone call

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson (pictured) hit back at Birmingham, telling him to ‘get his priorities straight’ after he criticised the phone call

‘It is entirely appropriate that the Australian Prime Minister calls an Australian citizen who has been through what Julian has been through [through]Ms Robinson told the ABC.

She confirmed that Assange had told Mr Albanese that he had saved his life.

“I don’t think that’s an exaggeration,” Ms. Robinson said.

“This is a huge victory for Australia and for Australian democracy. This is a huge victory for freedom of expression.

“This is a huge victory for Australia that our Prime Minister stood up to our ally, the United States, and demanded the return of an Australian citizen, and that Julian came home today.”

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Stella Assange also supported Mr Albanese calling her husband.

“I think Julian’s return to Australia is a historic moment, it belongs to all Australians,” she said.

“It’s part of Australia as a whole and I think this is a moment for everyone to celebrate that this Walkley award-winning journalist has finally been able to return to his home country.”

Assange (pictured) said he looked forward to swimming in the ocean every day and teaching their young sons to catch crabs like a free man

Assange (pictured) said he looked forward to swimming in the ocean every day and teaching their young sons to catch crabs like a free man

Assange (pictured) said he looked forward to swimming in the ocean every day and teaching their young sons to catch crabs like a free man

In a post on social media, Albanese said he was advocating for an end to Assange’s long legal battle at every opportunity and at every level.

“Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of speaking with Julian Assange to welcome him to his family in Australia,” he wrote on X.

“As Prime Minister I have been clear: regardless of what you think of his activities, Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long.

“I have clearly and consistently – at every opportunity and at every level – advocated for the closure of Mr. Assange’s case.

“This is the result of careful, patient and determined work.”

Assange said he looked forward to swimming in the ocean every day and teaching their young sons to catch crabs like a free man.

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