Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to respond decisively to Japan’s decision to resume whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, and the slaughter of more than 300 whales, including 200 pregnant whales.
In conducting its latest hunt, Japan has defied an International Court of Justice ruling and an International Whaling Commission finding that its whaling program is not based in science and therefore illegal under international law.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has made all sorts of promises; including a commitment before the 2013 election that a coalition government would send a Customs patrol boat to the Southern Ocean to monitor and discourage Japan’s whaling activities.
Nearly three years later no action has been undertaken by Mr Hunt – given news of this season’s kills, it seems clear this issue is not a priority for the Turnbull Government. This is just another broken promise from the Abbott-Turnbull government, and there is little sign of a change of direction under the current Prime Minister.
Mr Turnbull seems eager to prove his green credentials lately – will he live up to his word now and strengthen Australia’s defense of endangered whale populations? Or will he disappoint the Australian people once more?
When Labor was in Government we took Japan to the International Court of Justice and won decisively, with orders that temporarily shut down Japan’s whaling program in the Southern Ocean.
This Coalition Government has not lifted a finger to pressure Japan to adhere to its international legal obligations, and Australians expect more than dithering by this chaotic Government while the slaughter goes on.
Australians care deeply about this issue, and were proud of the strong anti-whaling stance of the previous Labor Government. The Abbott-Turnbull government must not allow this flagrant violation of Japan’s international legal obligations and the slaughter of whales in their hundreds to continue unchallenged.
Labor calls on the Government to bring all reasonable diplomatic pressure to bear on Japan to follow the ruling of the International Court of Justice, prosecuted on Australia’s behalf by Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus at The Hague in 2014.
If Japan refuses to comply with its clear international legal obligations, then Labor calls on the Turnbull Government to immediately commence further legal action.
Mr Hunt and the Abbott-Turnbull government must do more than wring their hands in response to the illegal slaughter. They need to take decisive action.
Tanya Plibersek MP & Mark Butler MP