Jun 7, 2006

If Campbell listened on climate he’d get a better hearing on whales

If Campbell listened on climate he’d get a better hearing on whales

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

7 June 2006

At today’s Day of Action to Protect Whales we must remember that the campaign for international action to outlaw whaling is undermined by Australia’s refusal to be part of global action to address climate change, the biggest issue facing Pacific Island nations.

It is a tragedy that many Pacific Island nations will probably vote with Japan at the International Whaling Commission.

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati has refused to give Australia a commitment to support its campaign at the International Whaling Commission to stop scientific whaling.

Australia’s failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and take action to help Pacific Islands deal with climate change has damaged Australia’s credibility.

If the Howard Government had respected Pacific Island nation concerns regarding climate change, Senator Campbell would be getting a much better hearing on whales.

Our Pacific neighbours are facing four key threats from climate change — rising sea levels, extreme weather events, collapsing ecosystems and the contamination of fresh water and crops with saltwater.

The Australian Government has acknowledged that Japan is on the brink of getting a majority at the IWC.

The Howard Government has sat on its hands while Japan stacked the IWC.

The Howard Government has failed to enforce Australian laws and prosecute Japanese factory ships slaughtering whales in Australian waters.

For too long, the Howard Government has ignored Labor’s call to take Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to stop whaling for all time.

Legal action by Australia would reinforce our diplomatic efforts and show the world we are serious about stopping the slaughter of whales once and for all.

Legal advice by an International Panel of Independent Legal Experts, prepared for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, shows that Australia could successfully challenge Japanese whaling at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea."