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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Page: 2111

Senator LUDWIG (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) (3:45 PM) —Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator LUDWIG —I thank the Senate. The Australian government does not support this motion. New Zealand citizen, Peter Bethune, was arrested by Japanese authorities in connection with his boarding of the Shonan Maru II in the Southern Ocean on 15 February 2010. Australia has no jurisdiction in relation to Mr Bethune’s arrest. This is a matter for Japan, which, as the flag state of the Shonan Maru II, has exclusive jurisdiction over its vessels on the high seas in relation to such matters and for New Zealand, which owes consular responsibilities to its own citizen.

The government has previously made clear that private citizens have no right to board vessels on the high seas without consent and should not attempt to do so. The government has also made clear that dangerous and confrontational methods, including some of those pursued by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, are absolutely inappropriate, including the throwing of projectiles from one vessel to another. The Australian government has repeatedly called on all parties in the Southern Ocean to show restraint. While we are opposed to whaling, we do not support violent and unlawful activity.