Government needs to act to stop whaling

Reports today that Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) need to be immediately verified by the Government and legal advice needs to be sought as to what this means for the moratorium on commercial whaling.

TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
 
MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ACT TO STOP WHALING
 

Reports today that Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) need to be immediately verified by the Government and legal advice needs to be sought as to what this means for the moratorium on commercial whaling.
 
Labor has stood firm against Japan’s so called ‘scientific whaling’ and supported the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling established in 1982.
 
It was Labor who took Japan to International Court of Justice and won – a ruling that means whaling in the Southern Ocean is illegal.
 
Today Labor reaffirms its commitment to seek to end Japanese so called ‘scientific’ whaling and calls on the government to seek legal advice on the implications of Japan walking away from the IWC.
 
The truth is Japan never stopped commercial whaling. There was never anything scientific about harpooning a whale, cutting it up and putting it on a plate.
 
The Japanese whaling fleet left for the Southern Ocean in November and may already be slaughtering whales.
 
This needs to end.
 
Labor has long denounced this cruel practice, and was particularly frustrated to hear reports in May 2018 of Japanese whaling boats slaughtering 122 pregnant female minke whales, in an apparent effort to measure fertility rates. The total catch and kill for the 2017-18 season was over 330 minke whales, many of which were still calves.
 
Japan threatened to leave the IWC at the last meeting in Brazil after it lost a vote on the issue of commercial whaling.
 
The government needs to immediately seek advice on these latest reports.
 
The moratorium on commercial whaling was one of the great environmental reforms of the last century.
 
While Australia’s actions have been focused on the Southern Ocean, Labor also condemns Japanese whaling in the northwest Pacific.
 
Our bilateral relationship with Japan is one of our closest and most significant, represented through deep engagement economically, through trade, defence, security ties and shared democratic ideals.
 
However, this does not mean we will agree on all issues, and Labor has consistently and strongly campaigned against Japanese whaling. Both Australia and Japan have recognised that this issue should not and will not affect our broader relationship. 
 
The revolving door of the Abbott Turnbull Morrison Government has shown no leadership on the issue of whaling.
 
Only Labor will do what it takes to protect our environment and the precious and endangered wildlife that inhabit it, for the benefit of current and future generations.
 
THURSDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2018