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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Page: 401

Senator LUDWIG (Minister for Human Services) (10:56 AM) —by leave—The Australian government’s position on the issue of commercial whaling, including so-called ‘scientific’ whaling, is clear. We remain absolutely opposed to it and have taken unprecedented steps, including through high-level diplomatic engagement and advancing reform proposals through the International Whaling Commission. The document released from the chairs of the International Whaling Commission this week is titled Chairs’ suggestions on the future of the IWC. As the chairs make clear, this document represents their suggestions on how to make progress at the commission. It is not a proposal for action and it does not reflect any agreement between those nations involved in discussions, including Australia.

The Australian government will continue to pursue our objectives diplomatically as we head towards the IWC annual meeting this June. We will continue to review progress, including through the IWC, and maintain the active consideration of potential international legal action. The government calls upon all vessels in the Southern Ocean to exercise restraint and conduct their activities peacefully and responsibly in accordance with the decisions of the International Whaling Commission and relevant domestic and international law.

Question agreed to.