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Thursday, 18 August 2005
Page: 321

Mr Murphy asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 22 June 2005:

(1)   Has he read the article titled ‘Nations surface to boost whaling bid’ in The Sydney Morning Herald on 20 June 2005, which reported that “Japan’s whaling ambitions are set to march forward today as a clutch of new member countries joins the International Whaling Commission”.

(2)   Will the Government enforce Australian law and stop the illegal slaughter of whales in Australian waters; if so, when, if not, why not.

(3)   Will the Government take Japan to the International Court of Justice to permanently end the slaughter of whales; if so, when; if not, why not.

Mr Howard (Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   I cannot recall reading the article.

(2)   Yes. In the Exclusive Economic Zone off the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) this would be subject to consideration of enforcement capability and the non-universal recognition of Australian sovereignty over the AAT.

(3)   The government has not decided to pursue legal action in the ICJ at this stage, but has not ruled out this option.