May 27, 2005

Federal Court Decision on Whaling

Federal Court Decision on Whaling

Joint Media Release:

Kevin Rudd M.P.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security

Anthony Albanese M.P.

Shadow Minister for the Environment

27 May 2005

Howard Government’s” diplomatic” option undermines case against Japan

A decision by the Federal Court in Sydney today has confirmed the Howard Government’s spineless and hypocritical response to the slaughter of whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary adjacent to Antarctica.

The Howard Government has stated its opposition to Japanese abuse of the “scientific research” exemption to the ban on commercial whaling. But at the same time the Howard Government’s intervention in a Federal Court case bought by the Humane Society International has caused the Court to refuse permission for HSI to proceed against Japanese whaling companies.

Specifically the Federal Court cited the intervention of the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock who argued that to enforce Australian law against the Japanese company:

“would be likely to give rise to an international disagreement with Japan”

For the past week Labor has been calling on the Government to take action against Japan in the International Court of Justice. This position has only been reinforced today by the decision of the Federal Court.

Labor’s calls for an International Court of Justice action are supported by the published opinion of Professor Gillian Trigg who states that Japan’s abuse of the “scientific research” exemption under International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is arguably an abuse of its rights and obligations under the Convention.

It is high time for the Howard Government to get real about how to stop so-called “scientific whaling” by Japan.

It is also time the Government supported Labor’s proposal to take the matter to the International Court of Justice.