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Government must act on start of Japanese whaling season: Greens

With reports that the Japanese whaling fleet have left port bound for the Southern Ocean, the Australian Greens today called on the Government to take immediate action.

"The Government's commitment to funding non-lethal whaling research mustn't stop them preparing for immediate action during the upcoming whaling season," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"There are still several avenues available to the Australian Government that are being swept aside by a lack of political will. Legal action could be pursued in an international court, or Australia could challenge Japan's whaling program through the Antarctic Treaty System."

"Although diplomatic efforts undertaken by the Rudd Government have thus far been rather unproductive, we have a fresh opportunity with the new Japanese Government. Public opinion against whaling within Japan has been on the rise, and with the right kind of pressure from countries like Australia, we could see actual movement towards stopping this annual slaughter," said Senator Siewert.

"Since it is becoming clear that the Australian Government has no plans to send a monitoring vessel into the Southern Oceans, the Sea Shepherd will again be the only presence there this season. Even with their sleek new superboat in the water, hundreds of whales will die as a result of Japanese whaling."

"It is simply not good enough to keep repeating the rhetoric without any resources or action to back it up - all we hear is that Minister Garrett will continue ‘strong diplomatic engagement.'"

"In just a few short weeks, the hunt begins again. I urge Minister Garrett to take action before we have to sit by and once again watch our endangered whale population slaughtered under the guise of Japanese ‘scientific research,'" she concluded.

For more information or media inquiries, please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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