Greens spokesperson for whaling, Senator Whish-Wilson responds to the latest brazen attacks by the Japanese whaling fleet on the Sea Shepherd vessels.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, "Greg Hunt broke a promise to send the ACV Ocean Protector to the Southern Ocean to protect human life at sea. Because of this Liberal government we now have no on-water search and rescue capacity to deal with a disaster in the Southern Ocean. This puts Australians lives at risk."
"Greg Hunt has wimped-out on standing up to the whalers, and he has wimped-out on standing up to his Cabinet colleagues. Australians need an Environment Minister who won't wimp out in standing up for the environment.
"We heard in Senate Estimates today that Greg Hunt's plane has made only one flight. What could one flight do to prevent whaling and prevent the whalers acting dangerously?
"Trade Minister Andrew Robb went on the record saying this government is putting trade deals with Japan ahead of whales.* This has given a green light to the whalers to raise the bar in terms of dangerous activities.
"Because of Robb's comments the whalers now know that they can act with impunity, free from diplomatic pressure from the Australian government.
"We warned the Government that the Japanese whalers would escalate the violence this summer. We warned that we needed an Australian Government vessel on the beat.
"The Australian Government must follow New Zealand's example and immediately call in the Japanese Ambassador and instruct him to put a stop to this," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.
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Media contact: Tim Beshara - 0409164603
* "Free trade deal with Japan took priority over whaling dispute, says Trade Minister Andrew Robb"http://www.smh.com.au/environment/whale-watch/free-trade-deal-with-japan-took-priority-over-whaling-dispute-says-trade-minister-andrew-robb-20140209-32a0x.html