14 Sep 2014

Australian govt supports whaling ban

1:53 pm on 14 September 2014

The Australian government has announced it will support New Zealand's push for a permanent ban on whaling.

A Bryde's whale on the deck of a Japanese research ship.

A Bryde's whale on the deck of a Japanese research ship. Photo: AFP / Institute of Cetacean Research

The International Whaling Commission meets this week and New Zealand will put forward a resolution to enforce an International Court of Justice decision that ruled scientific research whaling is illegal.

Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully called for countries to support New Zealand's push to restrict whaling and the Australian government indicated they would back the cause.

Australian environment minister Greg Hunt said Australia and New Zealand had a "common cause here to ensure that whaling is ended forever," the ABC reported.

"Australia will vote to ensure there is a permanent ban on whaling and to uphold the International Court of Justice decision," he said.

The resolution seeks to initiate work by the science committee of the International Whaling Committee to put rules around the International Court of Justice's ruling earlier this year.

It also asks all countries not to commence whaling until work by the scientific committee has been completed.

Mr Hunt said while there would be differences of opinion he is hopeful the commission will adopt the resolution.

A consultant working for the Japanese government Glenn Inwood said these types of resolutions could be successful but the, even if passed, would not be binding.

"New Zealand has a habit of overstating the legal significance of these types of resolutions."

Sea Shepherd's New Zealand national co-ordinator Michael Lawry said the whales should be spared any interference.

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