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26 November 2007 - Rudd must act immediately on whales       

Rudd must act immediately on whales

Sydney, 26 November 2007                          
                                                                                                                                      

The ALP went to the electorate with a policy that they would enforce the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

Right now a Japanese whaling company is on its way to the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica planning to harpoon over a thousand whales within weeks, which means Prime Minister elect Mr Rudd must dispatch an Australian vessel immediately to enforce Australian law.

“Humane Society International only went to the Federal Court seeking an injunction against the whaling company because the previous Government had failed to enforce the law themselves,” said Michael Kennedy, HSI’s Director. “In contrast to the Howard Government’s opposition, the ALP has given our case their complete support. However, now that the ALP is in government they do not need to wait for a Federal Court injunction for the hunt to be stopped; they already have the power, the imprimatur of Parliament and the duty to act.”

In addition to their permits to kill 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales, this year the Japanese fleet will also be targeting 50 humpback whales. The majority of these whales will be killed within the Australian Whale Sanctuary contrary to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. In the lead up to the Federal election, the ALP made a public statement in September claiming ‘Labor has a clear policy position that we will enforce Australian law banning the slaughter of whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary’. Most importantly, in May, the ALP stated in the ‘Federal Labor's Plan To Counter International Whaling’ media statement that they will Monitor whaling vessels operating in Australian waters, and intercept vessels operating illegally’.

“We trust that now that the ALP has formed Government, they will make good on their promise to stop the Japanese whaling vessels from contravening Australian law,” said Mr Kennedy. “The Government must take the action necessary to cause the Japanese whalers to pack up their harpoons and go home.”

HSI is awaiting a decision by the Federal Court on whether an injunction will be issued against the Japanese whaling company. In the meantime, the Japanese whaling vessel is well on its way to the Australian Whale Sanctuary to commence its illegal operations. The ALP needs to act now to stop the hunt going ahead. HSI, the Australian public and the whales are counting on them.





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