The Senate has backed an Australian Greens motion recognising the start of legal action in the International Court of Justice against Japanese whaling and urging the Government to ensure any resources needed to enforce a positive ruling are provided.
"The start of this case is an important day for the decades-old fight against whaling," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
"The Senate recognised this, supporting the Greens motion and noting that this case will be keenly followed by all those Australians who oppose the continuation of whaling.
"It is also significant that the Senate backed our calls for the Government to consider what resources will be provided to enforce a positive result.
"This court case is an important marker in this long campaign, but it is important to remember that the Japanese Government have a track record of ignoring or bypassing international treaties, regulations and requests. The Government therefore needs a plan to enforce the findings.
"A positive outcome in the ICJ doesn't necessarily mean Japan will quietly step away from their barbaric hunt, and so it is important that countries like Australia prepare to take a stronger lead in environmental protection.
"Last summer we saw the consequences of allowing Japan to operate without proper monitoring and scrutiny. The conduct of the Japanese fleet in Australia's Antarctic Territory was deplorable, and included acts which threatened both human lives and the Antarctic environment.
"There is a clear desperation from the Japanese Government to continue whaling, in spite of increasing stockpiles of whale meat at home and falling domestic sales.
"I welcome the Senate's support for our motion and encourage the Government to do all it can to support the case under way in the ICJ," Senator Siewert concluded.
*1308 Senator Siewert:
To move-That the Senate-
(a) notes that Australia's legal action against Japanese whaling will begin in the International Court of Justice, The Hague, on 26 June 2013, and will be followed closely by all Australians who have expressed significant concern about the annual slaughter of whales in Antarctic waters; and
(b) urges the Government to outline how a positive result for Australia in this court case will be enforced by Australia and what financial provisions have been made to resource the enforcement efforts.