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Transcript
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

20 June, 2005
Interview on 2UE with Peter Fitzsimmons on Mike Carlton breakfast program

International Whaling Convention, Korea


Announcer:
..miraculously for Japan four new countries - Gambia, Toga, Namibia, Nauru - have just joined the committee this weekend and plan, apparently, on voting with the pro-whaling lobby. The US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia are leading the fight to keep our whales in the water and off the tables. And I'm joined now from Korea by Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell. Good morning, Senator.

Senator Campbell:
Good morning, Peter.

Announcer:
Are you suspicious of Gambia, Toga, Namibia, Nauru joining the committee?

Senator Campbell:
Of course I have to be, Peter, these aren't countries that we'd have encouraged to join. We've got to always treat them on the basis that they're sovereign countries and that we will go and talk to them and we'll try to convince them of our arguments but you've asked me if I'm suspicious: damn right, I am.

Announcer:
You've been all over the world fighting for this - 11 countries in eight days - what is the mood you detect of the countries that are about the vote?

Senator Campbell:
They're all a bit different, as you'd expect. We had a meeting with the UK Minister, the German Minister and the New Zealand Minister last night. We've all just arrived and we've gone through the countries, we've looked at where they're likely to vote. Quite frankly, it does come down to one or two votes. We're looking at the countries we might be able to move across and convince and we'll be working right down to the wire to try and get them across. I've not been to one of these things before but people like Geoffrey Palmer, the former New Zealand Prime Minister, and Jim McLay, former New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, both fantastic citizens who are here, have been working on this issue for decades now; they said they've never seen an atmosphere quite like it. The pro-whaling nations are pushing very hard; they're very aggressive; they're basically calling me names and..

Announcer:
What are they calling you? What are they saying about you?

Senator Campbell:
..(laughs) they say that I'm too emotional and that I should look at the science. Well I'm happy to look at the science. The science, Peter, as you and your listeners know is that these guys go down, blow up whales with grenades, slice them up and serve them in restaurants; and that's not science to me so if you get a bit emotional saying that is an obscene thing to be doing in this day and age, then I don't apologise for that.

Announcer:
And nor should you, may I say. If you don't get emotional about the killing of the whales, what would you get emotional about?

Senator Campbell:
Well that's right.

Announcer:
Tell me, with the International Whaling Committee, what force do their deliberations have? If they say 'no more culling', does that have real force with Japan?

Senator Campbell:
Well it's really the other way round, Peter. Today is the first day where there's a real prospect that the commercial whaling will be reopened for the first time since the moratorium has been put in place, and that's what Japanese, the Norwegians and the Icelanders want. We're here to stop (them) and the risk is that they do get, for the first time, a majority; there's only one or two votes in it. I actually, on last night's count, I think we were one or two votes behind, and we will be working right up to Wednesday. What that means, Peter, so your listeners can understand is that you're not only talking about Japan and Norway and Iceland continuing to do what they're doing in expanded numbers but you're also, you would open it up to Togo and, you know, every other nation in the world that wanted to go catch whales could do it under this plan. I just think this is a generation where we're trying to address things like climate change, we're trying to address things like pollution, we're trying to address things like saving our wildlife; what a terrible blight on this generation to go back to the Dark Ages and start hunting whales again. It's just outrageous.

Announcer:
I think absolutely outrageous. I thank you very much for joining us. Again, judging from the calls I've had and the things I've read, and the people I've talked to, we all wish you well and we wish you all strength in doing what needs to be done to protecting the whales.

Senator Campbell:
Thanks, Peter. Thanks for the support and we'll keep you in touch during the week.

Announcer:
Thanks for that, Federal Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell. Isn't that outrageous? What a good point he makes there at the end. And this time, of all times - 2005 - we're trying to sort out our environment, we're worried about global warming, we're worried about the extinction of all kinds of species; and 2005 to blow the whistle and say, 'nah, she's all on again, it's open season on the whales'. Absolutely outrageous and insane! And it is for our generation to try and protect the whales - and indeed protect all species - and not call open season on species that cannot withstand it.

Commonwealth of Australia