Australia’s commitment to ocean conservation is being questioned after the government chose to send a junior minister for only a brief visit to a key meeting of the International Whaling Commission, where Japan will attempt to lift a 30-year ban on commercial whaling.
Senator Anne Ruston, the assistant minister for international development and the Pacific, is due to arrive in Florianópolis, Brazil, on 8 September but will leave on 10 September, four days before the conclusion of the meeting.
The former Greens leader and whale campaigner Bob Brown joined Labor and the Greens in condemning the decision.
Brown said: “Australia is sending a non-cabinet assistant minister, who has nothing to do with protecting the environment, to a vital meeting in which Japan, which has the chair, hopes to upend the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
“This is an insult to every Australian voter concerned about the protection of our whales.”
Japan has tabled a proposal to the meeting to start a “sustainable” whaling program that would effectively end the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
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