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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
2 December 1999
The Federal Government has condemned Japan's decision to continue its so-called scientific whaling program in the Southern Ocean.
Environment Minister Robert Hill says Australia will step up its opposition to whaling in the lead-up to the International Whaling Commission meeting to be held in Adelaide in mid-2000.
"Australia and Japan have cooperated for many years on a range of environment programs, such as the conservation of migratory shorebirds, but whale protection is one issue on which the two countries appear to hold different views," Senator Hill said.
"Japanese vessels are moving into the Southern Ocean to commence another whale kill, despite strong international support for the protection of whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
"The Australian Government remains totally opposed to lethal scientific whaling and we will continue to promote increased protection for whales ahead of the 52nd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, to be held in Adelaide next year," he said.
"An Australian resolution urging Japan to refrain from issuing special permits for scientific whaling was carried by a large majority at an International Whaling Commission meeting held in Grenada earlier this year.
"The scale and nature of the scientific whaling program carried out under permits issued by the Government of Japan, including a clause allowing whales to be processed, undermines the intent of the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling as well as the claim that they're being killed in the name of science."
Senator Hill said Australia would continue to urge Japan to abandon its annual take of 440 minke whales.
"The information sought from the so-called the scientific whaling program can be obtained using non-lethal means," Senator Hill said.
The 52nd Meeting of the IWC and its various sub committees and working parties will be held in Adelaide from 9 June to 6 July, 2000.
Media Contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364