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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Thursday, 22 December 2005
...inaudible...(actions of Greenpeace for whales?)
I think Greenpeace are doing what Greenpeace has always done; they're drawing world attention to what is an outrageous act of slaughter against innocent animals who are basically going on about their lives, these are highly intelligent animals, they are being taken in the name of science, the Japanese say this is science and anyone that wants to go to the Greenpeace website and see this knows that there's no science involved. These animals are being slaughtered with harpoons; many of them are drowning in their own blood and in Southern Ocean seawater, being dragged aboard these vessels and having their flesh stripped off them, it is nothing other than slaughter, its an insult to science, it needs to stop, the world said it should stop, the IWC supporting Australia's motion said it should stop, Greenpeace drawing the attention of the world to what is a slaughter. All I say is that is its very important that Greenpeace keep themselves safe and don't endanger their lives or those of any other people at sea or in the vicinity.
I think there's an argument to say that to the extent you could entrench pro-whaling views at home in Japan, there's a risk that it's counterproductive the upside is that the world gets to see what happens in the Southern Ocean with very graphic, very clear digital photographs of the destruction of whales. It tells the world what we have been fighting against all year, what we will continue to fight against, we won't stop until whaling is relegated to the dustbin of history. I just hope Greenpeace's actions remain productive and don't become counterproductive.
The Government's allowed a Japanese ship to dock for a crewmen's treatment. Will you try to keep it here?
Certainly not, it's very important that this young man's life is protected, I understand it is appendicitis which can be perilous if not treated quickly, we want to make sure he can get to treatment as quickly as possible. We will do nothing that would discourage that ship coming to an Australian port or we would do nothing to stop that young man getting to an Australian hospital. I think people saying we should impound the boat and somehow impede it would send a signal to the skipper and send a signal to the ship's owner's not to come to port and that would imperil this young man's life. I don't think any Australian would like to see that, regardless of how passionate they are about whaling as I am.
...inaudible...(would you try to stop it leaving?)
Well, quite clearly a skipper or an owner of a vessel is not going to bring it to port if there is some risk of it being impounded, stopped or impeded; I made it very clear to the Japanese Government that that will not occur in Australia; they will be given refuge and safe passage into and out of the Australian port, the young man will be treated with the best available Australian medical treatment, we will make sure he gets the treatment as quickly as possible, we will co-operate with them and the vessel will be free to enter and leave an Australian port at its own design.