Tuesday, 11 September 2018
I, and also on behalf of Senator Hanson-Young, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will be meeting in Brazil this week to discuss Japan's proposal for a partial repeal of a moratorium on commercial whaling that has held since 1985;
(b) further notes that the Government has sent the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Ruston, to represent Australia for two days of the IWC; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to send the Minister for the Environment to Brazil immediately for the final days of the IWC.
Australia remains staunchly opposed to all forms of commercial whaling. Australia will be represented at the International Whaling Commission meeting by a strong delegation led by Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific. Minister Ruston is extremely capable and experienced in international negotiations and will present at the commission with the full authority of the Australian government.
It's nothing personal against Senator Ruston, but she is a junior minister with no experience in this portfolio. This is an extremely important juncture in the development of the International Whaling Commission. At a time when the Japanese government have become so bold that they are no longer even hiding behind the figment of scientific whaling but, indeed, are suggesting, after 30 years, going back to full commercial whaling, what do we do? We send a junior minister to Brazil to the International Whaling Commission. Japan has sent nine members of their parliament to this delegation. What do we get? A minister that's not even going to be there when the motion is moved in the last two days of this week. What signal does this send the Japanese government? It sends a signal that we're weak and spineless on this issue and that we have backed away from 30 years of leadership on protecting whales. It's a disgrace.