Wednesday, 14 November 2018
It's very disappointing that this motion about Japanese whaling has been denied formality today. This is not a complex foreign matter; this is a very simple matter. The Japanese whaling fleet left two nights ago from Japan, heading to the Southern Ocean. The Japanese Prime Minister is coming to Australia this Friday. We're rolling out the red-carpet-engagement treatment for the Japanese Prime Minister. It's a friendship/close allies visit to talk about closer regional ties, defence and national security.
This is an issue. There is a massive object in the room that no-one is talking about, and it's called a minke whale. There are 333 of them that the Japanese harpoon fleets are heading into the Southern Ocean to kill this summer. Why aren't we doing something about it? I think that this motion reflects what most Australians feel on this issue, and this chamber has thumbed its nose at the sentiment of the Australian people.
Contrary to Senator Whish-Wilson's simple view of the issue before us, the government does believe that this is a complex foreign policy matter. Australia strongly opposes all forms of commercial and so-called scientific whaling. We have expressed our concern at the return of the Japanese fleet to the Southern Ocean. We will continue our efforts at the International Whaling Commission to promote whale conservation and our non-lethal whale research to prove that such scientific whaling is untenable. Our bilateral relations with Japan are extremely important to us and we continue to raise this at the highest levels with Japan.