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

22 June, 2005
Interview with Tracey Grimshaw on Today, Channel Nine

Revised Management Scheme to maintain moratorium on commercial whaling at International Whaling Convention, Korea

Announcer: Korea and he joins us on the line now. Senator Ian Campbell, good morning, thanks for your time. Congratulations on yesterday's vote. But what is the chance of Japan putting up amended proposal or appealing somehow?

Senator Campbell:
I don't think Japan will do that but the risk for Australia is the Nordic countries - Norway, Iceland and some of their pro-whale slaughtering nations - try to find some compromise; so that's the big fight today. And of course on scientific whaling we've got try to and get the Australian Resolution up.

Well, that's right. Today the Commission votes on whether or not to allow Japan to increase its scientific kill but that vote is virtually meaningless, isn't it?

Senator Campbell:
You're quite right. There's an Article in the Convention that effectively allows Japan to write its own permit to kill as many whales in the name of 'science', and as you and the viewers know, they go down and slaughter these whales, blow them up with explosives, slice them up and sell them in restaurants. That's not science. We've got to send Japan a loud, clear signal with a big vote for the Australian Resolution today to just say: 'this is not on in this century, in this millennium; it belongs in the dustbin of history.' And we just hope Japan will listen to the IWC.

Does Japan have to observe any limit at all on its so-called 'scientific' cull?

Senator Campbell:
No, they just write their own permit, Tracey. They write themselves a permit under this, what we would call a 'loophole' in the Convention. It's a loophole that Australia wants to reform. I've got one clear mission in mind, having been at this meeting for three days now: the IWC needs to be reformed if it is to be the body that people of the world charge with the responsibility of the custodianship of this species. It needs reform if it is to be left with that responsibility.

So what happens next? Obviously Japan is going to increase its scientific cull along the lines that it's already outlined. Even if today the IWC votes against that, what is Australia going to do? What are the anti-whaling nations going to do to stop them?

Senator Campbell:
Well firstly today we've got to try and get a very big vote for our Resolution and we're going to have to continue the sort of work that we've done over the last 12 months, right up to the vote. We've built a fantastic majority yesterday so we would like to build on that. And, Tracey, in the past Japan has actually listened; it has listened to these votes. It's realised that it's proposal to double the slaughter under the name of 'science', I would say, has had some sort of significant impact on their proposal to re-open commercial whaling. For example, China, for the first time in a long, long time - I think none of the people around here can remember when they've ever done this - did not vote for commercial whaling; they abstained. That's a huge historic shift for China. I think Japan has mishandled this. We have to work very hard to get a big majority today; that is the number one challenge.

All right, thank you for your time this morning.

Senator Campbell:
My pleasure.

Commonwealth of Australia