Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Senator the Hon Bob Carr

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP


Australian Government condemns Japan's decision to hunt Whales

Media release
29 December 2012

The Australian Government is aware of reports that the Japanese whaling fleet has left Japan for the Southern Ocean.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said he was aware of the media reports that the Japanese fleet has left port and condemned any decision to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean this summer.

"The Australian Government condemns all commercial whaling, including Japan's so-called 'scientific' whaling. It is particularly offensive that Japan's whaling will take place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission," Mr Burke said.

"We will keep working to achieve a permanent end to all commercial whaling."

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the decision to commence legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice in May 2010 was not taken lightly.

"The Australian Government considers Japan's whaling program is contrary to its international obligations and should stop," said Ms Roxon.

Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr said Australia's stand against commercial whaling was shared by the international and Australian communities.

"The International Court of Justice is an appropriate forum for a resolution for this issue," Senator Carr said.

"We're matching words with action in pursuing this matter before the Court. And we do so with the support of the majority of nations in our region and around the world."

Both Australia and Japan have filed their detailed written arguments in the International Court of Justice.

The Court will now set the case down for oral hearing in The Hague. The Government anticipates that the case is likely to be listed for hearing in the latter half of 2013.