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Has Garrett missed the boat on legal action to protect whales? Greens

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 28 Apr 2010

The Australian Greens today accused Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett of talking too loudly and doing too little, too late as the Government continues in its failure to deliver on election promises of taking international legal action against Japan's controversial whaling program.

Today Mr Garrett loudly criticised the International Whaling Commission's proposal to sanction limited commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean and off the Japanese coast.

"Mr Garrett's comments completely ignore the fact that the Government has failed to follow through with their election promise to take international legal action against Japan," Greens Environment Spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"If the International Whaling Commission proposal is passed, Australia will have missed the boat in taking successful legal action to end the Japanese whaling program. That is a broken promise to the Australian people."

"It's all good and well for Mr Garrett to be critical of the International Whaling Commission's proposal, but these words need to be backed up by the strongest of actions.

"An alternative IWC proposal by Mr Garrett stands little chance of garnering the necessary support for success, and all the while the clock is ticking on effective legal action.

"Australians expect strong action from the Government to save whales and keep their promise," said Senator Siewert.

The Australian has today published comments from International law expert Donald Rothwell, who said Australia's legal actions will be largely depleted if the IWC proposal is passed.

"I understand the government has received legal advice that if the reform options are adopted, its options to take Japan to the International Court of Justice would be compromised. And that would be consistent with my view on the matter," Professor Rothwell said.

Media Contact: Chris Redman - 0418 401 180

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