That the Senate-
(a) notes that:
(i) on 25 November 2008, the Senate urged the Australian Government to set a timeline for legal proceedings in an international court to stop illegal Japanese whaling if Japan does not commit to stop whaling by 8 December 2008, (ii) Japanese whaling operations continued past this deadline, and (iii)no such legal action has been undertaken by the Government;
(b)urges the Government to:
(i)strongly oppose the proposal in the document, ‘The Future of the IWC’, currently before the International Whaling Commission, which seeks to legitimise Japanese whaling operations, and
(ii)explain why it has not yet commenced international legal action to stop illegal Japanese whaling; and
(c)condemns the violent actions of the Japanese whaling fleet, who have reportedly thrown metal balls at environmental activists, and used acoustic weapons to send out painful high frequency waves.
Question agreed to.
I seek leave to make a short statement about the motion.
The Australian government’s position on the issue of commercial whaling, including so-called scientific whaling, is clear: we remain absolutely opposed to it and have taken unprecedented steps to see it end, including through high-level diplomatic engagement and advancing reform proposals through the International Whaling Commission. The chairs of the International Whaling commission released a document this week entitled “Chairs’ suggestions on the future of the IWC”. As the chairs make clear, this document represents their suggestions on how to make progress at the commission. It is not a proposal for action and it does not reflect any agreement between those nations involved in discussions, including Australia.
The Australian government will continue to pursue our objectives diplomatically as we head towards the IWC annual meeting this June. We will continue to review progress, including through the IWC, and maintain the act of consideration of potential international legal action. The government calls on all vessels in the Southern Ocean to exercise restraint and conduct their activities peaceably and responsibly in accordance with the decisions of the International Whaling Commission and relevant domestic and international law.