Action against whaling applauded
THE Federal Government’s decision to take legal action against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean has been welcomed by Page MP Janelle Saffin.
In an announcement made yesterday, the Government said it would start legal action next week in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’.
Ms Saffin said this news would be welcomed by the people in her electorate.
“This decision is not one which has been taken lightly, but it will have widespread support across Page from all sectors of the community because so many local people are passionately opposed to whaling,” she said.
But Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, who was on the Northern Rivers yesterday for the launch of Jeff Johnson’s campaign as the candidate for Page, said it had taken too long.
“It is extraordinary that they have dragged the chain for so long,” she said.
“But the fact that the government is finally acting is great news.
“I believe Labor has been forced into taking this legal action because there has been widespread concerns from people in the community.
“The government has been under increasing pressure to do something about the Japanese whaling.
“It’s taken a long time to get to this point.”
Ms Saffin agreed the community wanted legal action taken against Japan as soon as possible.
She said she took that message to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith and Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett.
In a statement to Parliament in March, she said there was a strong anti-whaling campaign in Page.
“There is support for the Government’s diplomatic efforts with Japan to get them to cease, and for the legal case, coming by year’s end, if diplomatic efforts to not bear fruit,” she said at the time.
“There is support for Sea Shepherd and others who work to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.”
Efforts to find a diplomatic resolution through the International Whaling Commission have been unsuccessful.
The government’s decision to take legal action is the first time any country has used an international court to try to stop whaling.
But the move could also create tensions between Australia and its second-largest export market, Japan, and the case could take years to resolve.
Mr Smith insisted Australia and Japan would stay friends, despite the legal action.
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