Japan’s decision to recommence whaling is caused by Australian government weakness

media-releases

Greens spokesperson for Whaling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson is calling on the Australian Government to immediately condemn Japan for their decision to recommence whaling in the Southern Ocean this Summer.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “No Australian Government in a generation has been so silent and so passive in providing supposed opposition to whaling.

“Senior Australian politicians from the Prime Minister down have gone out of their way to avoid raising the concerns of the Australian people with the Japanese leadership about whaling.

“Not only have the Liberal Government avoided applying any diplomatic or political pressure to Japan, but they have been idle in preparing other legal options.

“When Greg Hunt was in opposition, he pinned the responsibility of Japan continuing to slaughter whales directly onto the Australian Government of the day, and right now I am doing the same. [see transcript below]

“The Australian government’s inaction and idleness has sent a signal to Japan that they can recommence whaling without recrimination.

“Time and time again the Greens have told them simply relying on the International Court of Justice result will not be sufficient to put an end to illegal Japanese commercial whaling. But the government ignored our warnings and now we are back where we started.

“Australia once led the world in anti-whaling pressure at the highest levels, but now it appears we sit mute on the issue.

“Malcolm Turnbull must continue Malcolm Fraser's legacy and immediately call the Japanese Prime Minister to condemn this action, and do as the New Zealand Prime Minister has done and signal he is prepared to send a boat to patrol the Southern Ocean to observe the impending slaughter and collect evidence to take into the next international legal action,” he concluded.

---ENDS---

 

THE HON GREG HUNT MP

Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

TRANSCRIPT

16 FEBRUARY 2013

DOORSTOP

FRANKSTON PIER, FRANKSTON, VICTORIA

E&OE….

Topics: Whaling, blood in the water, blind eye in Canberra, Government ignored warnings on need for Customs vessel

JOURNALIST:

Greg, what do we know about whaling in Australian waters at the moment?

GREG HUNT:

Reports of the slaughter of whales in Australian waters are deeply disturbing. The Government must make a statement immediately, have whales been slaughtered in Australian waters, if so what are they going to do about it. We’ve got blood in the water and a blind eye in Canberra, it’s completely unacceptable.

These are Australian waters that should be protected. Whaling should never be occurring but for it to occur in Australian waters is an utter failure in Canberra.

JOURNALIST:

What should the Government be doing, I know some years ago we had legal action on foot and there were Customs boats sent out in 2009, 2010, but what’s happening this year?

GREG HUNT:

The Government should stop turning a blind eye to whaling in our waters and should have a Customs vessel in the Southern Ocean. We wrote three times to the Prime Minister in December, warning of the slaughter of the whales and warning of the risk of collision. Right now we have whales being taken and collisions on foot as potentially occurring in Australian waters, no Australian presence, no Australian focus, a blind eye in Canberra.

It’s time finally for the Government to be focusing on protecting our waters rather than protecting their own back.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think they are worried about offending the Japanese, does this come down to politics in the end?

GREG HUNT:

Well this can be done in a practical, sensible way with a clear message, these are our waters, our whales, and it’s our time and our responsibility. The Government simply has to stand up for Australian waters and do the right thing by the environment, no excuses.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned that at the moment, you haven’t heard of any injuries at the moment, but there is always that potential for people to be injured and maybe even worse killed?

GREG HUNT:

Well there’s not just a risk of slaughter of the great whales of the Southern Ocean, there’s a real risk of collision which could lead to injury or to a loss of life at sea. We have warned the Government three times in writing, they have turned a blind eye to the attack on the whales and a blind eye to the risk of a potentially fatal collision.

You simply cannot ignore the risk of tragedy in Australian waters, there should a Customs vessel, there should be representations in Tokyo, anything less is a complete failure of responsibility.

JOURNALIST:

Why do you think they are turning a blind eye?

GREG HUNT:

Only the Prime Minister can answer why they have got their head buried in the sand. But this is the slaughter of the great whales occurring in our own water and it’s the risk of collision in our own water, where is the Government and why have they turned a blind eye, they have got to answer that question and they’ve got to do something now.

JOURNALIST:

How far can the Government go without staring World War Three?

GREG HUNT:

We just need to have a Customs vessel, we need to be upfront. These things can and should be done and that’s what a Government which cares about its waters, cares about border protection, cares about the environment, should do.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)…scientific research, what do you think about

GREG HUNT:

The notion of scientific research as a basis for slaughtering whales has always been a myth, we know that, the Australian Government knows that, it’s time that they stood up for Australia and Australian waters.Enter your description