23 Jun 2005

Australian Nauru watcher outraged by pro-whaling vote

3:30 pm on 23 June 2005

An Australian academic expert on Nauru says that island's snubbing of Australia and vote with pro-whaling Japan at the International Whaling Commission meeting is outrageous.

After arriving late at the IWC, Nauru's delegate reportedly refused to meet with Australia's Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, and went on to vote with Japan in a key vote.

Mr Campbell's labelled Nauru's actions as "contemptible" and says Australia will raise the issue at the highest levels with Nauru.

Emeritus Professor Helen Hughes says Nauru's vote with Japan is totally unacceptable, on environmental and economic grounds.

And she says it's an outrageous way for Nauru to repay Australia, which is funding the bankrupt island.

"Not to discuss the issue with the Asutralian delegates is just outrageous seeing they're totally, 100 percent dependent on the charity of Australian taxpayers. And to repay ... I mean, we have an elected Government which has a strong position which is a moral position on whaling. and for Nauru to go against that is... now whose.. so the Japanese must have offered them more money."

Professor Hughes says she believes Japan's bought Nauru's vote.