Jan 18, 2006

More than Polite Diplomacy Needed to Save Whales

More than Polite Diplomacy Needed to Save Whales


18 January 2006

The Howard Government must take Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to stop the slaughter of whales once and for all.

While Labor welcomes the Howard Government’s work with sixteen other nations in expressing strong opposition to the slaughter of whales, diplomacy in itself is not the solution. Diplomacy must be coupled with strong legal action.

The Howard Government must also enforce its own laws to stop the slaughter of whales in Australian waters. Were it not for the actions of Greenpeace, the world would not know what is occurring in the Australian Whale Sanctuary because the Howard Government refuses to monitor the whale slaughter.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) shows diplomacy is not enough. The IWC voted against a return to commercial whaling, but Japanese whalers will slaughter 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales in the name of “science”.

The Environment Minister continues to send mixed messages about whaling.

After the IWC meeting in June last year, he declared:

“Australia and pro-conservation nations have today won a massive victory for whale conservation. This is a fantastic outcome because it reinforces Australia’s determination to ensure all commercial and so-called “scientific” whaling is consigned to the dustbin of history.”

Tragically, whaling hasn’t been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The Environment Minister wants to give the impression he’s talking tough to the Japanese Government. The truth is the Government opposed the Humane Society International’s attempt to enforce Australian laws on the grounds that “it would be likely to give rise to an international disagreement with Japan over whaling”.

We have an international disagreement with Japan. Whaling is barbaric. We must send that message through diplomacy and the courts.