Australian Politics International The Law

Australian Labor, The Greens and Our Brave Activists Save the Whales

The former Labor environment minister Peter Garrett, launched the legal action in May 2010 (Source)

“In light of the fact the JARPA II [research program] has been going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited,” Japan shall revoke any existent authorisation, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance to the program” said presiding judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia (Source).

The now Attorney-General George Brandis has referred to the decision as being a ‘narrow issue in the International Court of Justice (Source).’

No matter the claims of victory to follow, by a now Liberal federal government happy to claim the small to large victories that have blossomed from years of hard work and passion by Australian Labor MPs, PMs, volunteers and supporters, know this:

Australian Labor fought to save the Whales in Law and today the Whales have won. The Sea Shepherd and activists fought on the high seas to save the Whales and today the Whales have won.


Former Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard defended his government’s policy of: “not interfering with Japanese whalers, even if they were taking whales in the Australian-declared Southern Ocean sanctuary (Source).

If not for those brave men and women who fought for the Whales and put their own lives in jeopardy, thousands more Whales would have been slaughtered waiting for man to make judgment over their fate. Thank you Sea Shepherd, your crews, activists and supporters who bought these atrocities to light (Article).

John Howard sent Japan a personal letter. It was a “strongly worded letter to his Japanese counterpart in 2005, that cited that Japan have no reason for killing whales (Source)”. In other words, Howard, like Abbott believes that a simple wag of the finger and ‘your a naughty boy’ telling off will make everything OK.

Through bluff and blunder, Howard managed to stick to the party line: “We will continue to pursue the diplomatic path. And that diplomatic path also involves, of course, taking the matter to the Whaling Commission, and arguing our case there (Source).”

In 2007 the new Federal Labor government launched an all out legal attack on Japans Whaling in Australian waters:

Court fight urged to save whales – May 8, 2007: Labor backs legal action and the Liberal Government warned that it could backfire.

Labor raises a harpoon to strike at Japanese whaling – May 20, 2007

Turnbull harpoons Rudd whaling plan – May 21, 2007

I believe there was a ripple felt across the globe when the Whales heard that Howard would write a letter on their behalf.

Today the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled Japan must immediately stop its whaling program in the Antarctic (Source). On a 16-judge panel it came down to 12 votes to 4 in favour of Australia’s argument that Japan’s whaling program was not in fact designed and carried out for scientific purposes.



The Judgment:

Summary of the IJC's judgment on whaling in the Antarctic


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