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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
26 January 2005
A Federal Court action against Japanese whaling operations has the potential to be counter-productive in the fight against whaling, the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said today.
Last year the Humane Society International (HSI) initiated proceedings in the Federal Court against a Japanese whaling company with regard to its alleged activities in the waters off Australia's Antarctic Territory (AAT).
While Australia's submission to the Federal Court does not support the court action, the Government's stand against commercial whaling remains firm.
Senator Ian Campbell said the Government strongly supported the HSI's objectives in seeking a permanent ban on whaling practices, but did not view the Australian courts as an appropriate vehicle through which to attempt to address the issue.
"Australia is an active and committed member of the Antarctic Treaty and notes that it is for each Treaty Party to regulate the activities of their nationals on the Antarctic continent and its surrounding waters," Senator Campbell said.
"Our record in the fight to ban the harsh and cruel practice of commercial whaling is well documented and we don't intend to give up now."
Senator Campbell said Australia would continue to work within the International Whaling Commission (IWC), maintaining its vigorous opposition to commercial and so-called scientific whaling.
Scientific whaling is not prohibited by the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and Japan continues to exploit a loophole which allowed member countries to hunt whales by granting permits for lethal research.
"Australia, on the other hand, is a world leader in developing scientifically robust non-lethal research methodologies," he said.
The next IWC meeting will be held in Ulsan, Korea, June 20 to 24 2005.
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434