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Garrett officially asks Japan to stop whale h -

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ELEANOR HALL: Australia has officially asked Japan to suspend its scientific whaling program as
negotiations to break the stalemate at the International Whaling Commission continue.

The Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, made the request at the IWC's meeting in Chile
this morning but is yet to receive a response.

Conservation groups have welcomed the initiative, but a former Australian environment minister
who's also at the conference has dismissed the move as meaningless.

Sarah Clarke is at the meeting in Santiago and filed this report for The World Today.

SARAH CLARKE: The Environment Minister Peter Garrett used his time on the commission floor to make
the official request to the Japanese delegation.

PETER GARRETT: Mr Chairman, Australia would make a substantial contribution to such a partnership
and I would urge Japan to consider participating. So, in support of this new partnership approach
and in light of my previous remarks, I would specifically ask that Japan suspend its lethal
scientific research in the Southern Ocean.

SARAH CLARKE: But his words were met with silence and Japan is yet to officially respond.

Conservation groups say it's a timely and fair request, with all countries now working towards
consensus. A new working group has 12 months to convince the two sides of this debate to deliver an
agreement and break the deadlock.

Mick McIntyre is from the group Whales Alive.

MICK MCINTYRE: It's in everyone's interest that Japan suspend its lethal research while this reform
process is going on at this commission.

SARAH CLARKE: And if it doesn't?

MICK MCINTYRE: If Japan doesn't show some good faith and suspend its lethal research than this
process of reform is doomed to fail.

SARAH CLARKE: Watching on at this year's meeting is the former environment minister, Ian Campbell
who is an outspoken critic of the Japanese whaling program.

This time around he's here as a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which has been
expelled from these talks. While he may not be able to access the official floor of the IWC, he's
got some advice.

IAN CAMPBELL: Well no, it all just seems to be a big love-in. They're all sort of being, you know,
holding hands and saying let's sit around a table and talk about it. And that's exactly what Japan
wants.

We have got to make coming to the IWC meetings very uncomfortable for Japan. We've got to make them
internationally embarrassed and we've got to make sure that whenever they venture down into the
ocean south of Australia and adjacent to Australian Antarctic Territory that it's very
uncomfortable for them as well.

SARAH CLARKE: Do you think Australia was talking tough before and since arriving Australia has
softened its position?

IAN CAMPBELL: Well I'd be very upset if they have. It's hard to tell because we're locked out of
the actual conference. But Australia has just got to maintain a rage against this.

We have, we're not, we shouldn't be holding hands with Japan and saying let's have a talk about
this. We shouldn't even be talking to Japan unless they say, we're fair dinkum about the talks and
we'll stop whaling while the talks go on. In other words, say we're not even going to talk to you
until you respect the moratorium.

SARAH CLARKE: So this working group, is that going to achieve anything or is it simply as you
described it, a love-in?

IAN CAMPBELL: It's going to be a love-in and a talk-fest which will get absolutely nowhere.

hat we want at the IWC is maximum friction, maximum division and maximum embarrassment for those
countries who either slaughter whales or support those who slaughter whales.

SARAH CLARKE: Peter Garrett might argue Australia's hands are tied and like when you were
environment minister, Australia was unable to take any tough position even on scientific whaling.
What would you response to that be?

IAN CAMPBELL: Well we took extremely tough action and made it really uncomfortable for Japan,
deeply upset them, deeply embarrassed them, and that's what we need to continue to do.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the former environment minister Ian Campbell speaking to Sarah Clarke in
Chile.