The Senate has referred the Australian Greens' Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Prohibition of Support for Whaling) Bill 2010 to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.
The Committee will now examine the Bill, which was introduced by Greens Marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert in response to the use of air services based in Australia to assist whalers in their annual slaughter last summer.
“Assistance was provided allowing the whalers to track the main protest vessel of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and hinder their work. This made the killing of whales an easier task,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Each summer, Australians are appalled by the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean. This Bill is designed to stop support from Australia facilitating the killing of these magnificent animals.
“It is currently an offence to kill whales but not an offence to provide services, support, or resources that assist in the killing of whales.
“It is a serious omission which this Bill seeks to rectify through an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
“The amendment makes it illegal to provide any assistance to a whaling venture, including surveillance information, communication, financial and material support.
“Importantly, the amendments will not make it unlawful to provide assistance to vessels in an emergency or where human life is at risk.
“I look forward to the committee examining this bill to ensure that the provisions will accomplish the aim, that is preventing assistance to whaling activity with the ultimate objective of stopping whaling in our oceans,” Senator Siewert concluded.