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Ban whaling vessels from using our ports

One would assume that an organisation entitled the 'Australia Strategic Policy Institute' would be a government body or a body at least having Australia's strategic interests at heart.

But its director, Dr Anthony Bergin, with a title one would assume would be capable of research, has written an article for Fairfax media supporting Japan's strategic interests.
Bergin's article: 'Ban Protest Vessels from using our Ports' dated 16th January 2010 in The Age and duplicated in the Sydney Morning Herald - (Fairfax empire privilege) sides with the Japanese whalers and calls on the Australian Government to support Japan in denying protesters access to Australian ports. Perhaps Dr Bergin should take up residency in Tokyo.

If Dr Bergin were respectful of the democratic rights to protest we have in Australia and recognised the Japanese incursion in Australia's whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean, and respected the existence rights of whales, then perhaps his article for Fairfax would have instead read like this...

The Australian Government has been far too even-handed in its statements about the reckless actions of the Japanese whalers trespassing in the Southern Ocean in breach of commercial whaling prohibitions.

By not condemning this annual intrusion by Japanese ships undertaking commercial whaling, Australia is in effect acquiescing in illegal poaching of whales, while Sea Shepherd does Australia's naval monitoring of illegitimate Japanese whale poachers.

Harassment will not change Japan's position on whaling. And not condemning these Japans actions is counterproductive for Australia trying to secure its protection of endangered whales with the International Whaling Commission.

Australia could legitimately take Japan to court and hold Japan in breach of the Antarctic Treaty at the next meeting of the commission in Morocco in June. Australia could legitimately and formally demand Japan to cease its whaling actions immediately.

Given the public interest in these matters, the Australian Government has sensibly asked the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to examine the recent events in the Southern Ocean. But it is hard to see how, on any reading of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, that the ramming of the Sea Shepherd vessel by the Japanese whaling vessel, could argue his actions were in compliance with it. The Ady Gill was stationary in the water at the time of the ramming and no action was taken by the Japanese whaling vessel to avoid a collision.

To demonstrate that Australia does not support the activities of the Japanese whalers, the Australian Government should ban the entry of its vessels into Australian ports.

In deciding whether to grant consent to vessels to enter its ports, a state is free to impose conditions as it wishes - access to a port of a state is a privilege, not a right. Australia banned port access to Japanese fishing vessels in 1998 when Japan would not agree on a total allowable catch for southern bluefin tuna in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The port access ban was lifted in mid-2001. Why? It is an offence under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act for a whaling vessel to call at an Australian port unless the master has written permission from the environment minister to bring it into the port.

If the Federal Government is serious about ending whaling and shifting the Japanese Government's position - one that has hardened in response - it should directly monitor all whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, follow through on its promise to take legal action against Japan, ban all whaling vessels from Australian ports and ban all use of aircraft from Australian airports for use by Japanese whalers.

Dr Anthony Bergin needs to continue his research and then get back to us with what he has learnt.

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Comments

How is it that whaling authorities, or 'spies', were allowed to hire Australian planes to spy on anti-whaling protest ships! Where are our border controls, our security forces? Australia is a sovereign nation, one to be proud of and patriotic towards. However, we have leaders cowering to Japan's superior powers, and all their rhetoric about "legal options" and "diplomatic pressure" are just forms of procrastination, a smoke-screen for the public.

It is becoming clear that some agreement has been made between Japan and Australia to prevent any "interference" to their whale slaughter.

Head of the Australian whaling envoy, Sandy Holloway, is set to receive up to $200,000 for 100 days work. Costs could escalate to one million dollars as bureaucrats travel the globe in a futile effort to stop Japan killing whales.

Mr Holloway's 'formal representations' to Japan, on a $1,800 a day retainer, were designed to fail and are really an expensive smokescreen to fool the Australian public. Such was the ambiguity of diplomatic pressure that Japan even asked Australia for help against the "eco-terrorists" upholding the laws in the Antarctic!

Public money is being wasted. Australia's Antarctic Territory, a $300 million whale-watching industry, domestic and international laws and Treaties are being abandoned in an effort to secure economic agreements with Japan.

Our government's "anti-whaling" stance, despite pre-election pledges, is a charade.

It is time we see some leadership from our Federal government and have Japan's illegal whaling fleet permanently removed from the Antarctic.

We urgently need leadership at this time, but clearly we won't be getting it from our present government!

The Prime Minister has to overview the whole picture in the national interest, long term as well as short term. Although a Green, I believe that he and his government are being unfairly critised and insultingly abused with insufficient cause.

A better understanding of any problem may sometimes be gleaned by putting oneself in the position of one's despised target and considering matters from his point of view.

To protect the welfare of this nation Mr Rudd has to very carefully consider the reciprocal benefits of trade between Australia and Japan, as well as a whole lot of other factors and subterranean international innuendos the likes of which we could only guess at. Mr Rudd surely realises this, and so do his advisors.

In Mr Rudd's position, with his huge and numerous responsibilities, I would not expect to last even a minute. Personally, I'm grateful he's there.

Because of trade matters, and in the interests of keeping the peace, I suspect that the Japanese whalers down south could ram half the Australian navy without provoking Mr Rudd into showing retaliatory muscle.

Of course if I was the commander of an Australian naval ship that had just been rammed down there, I would, um, deal with the problem there and then.

It's likely that my response would be something less than one fully loaded with diplomatic tact and courtesy.

Trade with Japan is a different topic. Our economic relationship with Japan should not depend on their being allowed to audaciously break International and domestic laws and treaties. According the the Federal Court, 2008, we would be quite within our rights to stop Japan's illegal whaling. Whether they are arrested and impounded should not depend on the economic power of the law-breaking nation. Setting a precedent that allows powerful nations to break the laws in our economic zones is dangerous and unfair.

Kevin Rudd is morally obliged to complete his pre-election promises and force Japan to respect our sovereignty. Anything else maligns us to being nothing but cowardly. "Protected" whales are not political or economic pawns to be traded or betrayed so cruelly.

Peter Bright, whilst I strongly disagree with what you have written, I think it is good that you have brought out into the open one unstated reason why some sectors of Australian public are most likely convinced to excuse our Government's cowardice on such a clear straightforward question of justice, environmental protection, national sovereignty and law.

That unstated reason is the fear of economic and diplomatic reprisals from Japan.

However, I believe that if the choice were put to ordinary Australians: either back down in order to retain some perceived economic advantage granted to some Australians by Japan or stand up and face whatever consequences may ensue, in order to maintain our self-respect, I think most would choose the latter.

In any case the latter is what Australians implicitly voted for when they voted for the Labor party with its promises to take a strong stance against whaling in 2007. If Kevin Rudd wants to back away from that commitment, at least he should consult the Australian public first.

Other examples of our Government's equivalently cowardly responses to similar injustices against Australian citizens, include:

  • The imprisonment of the clearly innocent Schapelle Corby in the hellish prison of Kerokoban for 20 years to cover the tracks of those who planted the cannabis as an obvious political stunt to justify more funding for Balinese police;
  • The Australian Federal Police allowing the Bali 9 to be arrested in Indonesia with drugs, where they face the death penalty when they could have instead been arrested in Australia and dealth wit by our justice system, without having to face the death penalty;
  • The deliberate cold-blooded murder by members of the Indonesian Coastguard in the 1980's of two Australians who had been intercepted on a yacht;
  • The murder of the Balibo 5 and Roger East in 1975;

In at least one case New Zealand's own record of defending its own citizens is equally lamentable. This was, when in 1985, it allowed the apprehended French terrorists Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur who were guilty of the bombing and sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and the resultant drowning of Dutch citizen Fernando Pereira to flee New Zealand to France, where they were predictably treated leniently by French Courts.

Years after the bombing -- my best guess is the mid 1990's -- I heard in the news of how a diligent and, probably, courageous Interpol policemen arrested one of the terrorists, still wanted for the attack, on Swiss soil and advised the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Government expressed no interest in having the terrorist extradited to New Zealand and so Interpol was forced to release him.

Australia's own role was apparently equally shameful. According to Wikipedia:

Three other agents, Chief Petty Officer Roland Verge, Petty Officer Bartelo and Petty Officer Gérard Andries, who sailed to New Zealand on the yacht Ouvéa, were captured by Australian police on Norfolk Island, but released as Australian law did not allow them to be held until the results of forensic tests came back. Expecting the tests would show they had transported the bombs to New Zealand, the crew was picked up by the French submarine Rubis, which scuttled the Ouvéa. They were never punished.

Some years later I witnessed Fernando Pereira's daughter, Marelle, who was only 8 at the time confront former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, on 60 Minutes as I seem to recall, over his Government's cowardice before the French.

Lange's excuse proferred to Marelle Pereira, was that if they had put Mafart and Prieur face trial for murder in New Zealand then New Zealand would have faced economic reprisals from France.

I believe any self-respecting Kiwi would have hung their heads in shame and disgust at the words of their former Prime Minister.

At the very least this blackmail by France should have been brought out in the open and New Zealanders should have been given some say over whether to back down or stand up to France.

Had the French attempted to punish New Zealand simply for bringing murderers to trial, then it seems more than likely that France, in turn, would have suffered consequences in the eyes of international public opinion.

Were the Japanese to retailiate against Australia in 2010, whether openly or more covertly, we could also ensure that it would be far from cost-free to them even in narrow economic terms. Furthermore, Australia would be in a position, not altogether dissimilar to that of New Zealand in 1985, to fight Japan before international public opinion and possibly through legal avenues as well and Japan's reputation could certainly be made to suffer a lot more as a result.

This also brings to mind a few years ago when world public opinion rallied behind Canada, when ships from their Navy confronted Spanish fishing ships who were fishing in Canadian territorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean when Canada itself was not fishing in the area in the hope of allowing depleted fish stocks to rebuild.

Even if it were to turn out that we were not able to win and we were to suffer economic or diplomatic retaliation, then my view is that, as a society, we should be prepared to pay that price as the price necessary for being a sovereign self-respecting nation.

As a society we would do what we could to make sure that no-one pays a disproportionate cost as a consequence of Japanese economic reprisals.

If that were to be put openly to the Australian people, I think that most would be in support of standing up to Japan. We could could also find ways, as a society, to ensure that no-one amongst us were made to pay a disproportionate cost as a consequence.

Seriously?!? You expected the Australian police to detain people more than 24 hours without evidence? I bet you've written a dopey article about Guantanemo Bay here somewhere but can't see the irony in it.

And citing Wikipedia as a source?

Editorial comment: A serious crime of terrorism had been committed against the Rainbow Warrior and those yacht crew were obvious suspects. If the Australian and New Zealand Governments had wanted to bring the terrorists to justice, they could have acted in less than 24 hours with little difficulty. The NZ Government's failure to act in a timely fashion to seek extradition some years later, when a diligent Interpol officer in Switzerland detained one of the suspects, confirms that the NZ government had no will to pursue justice.

Be fair?
Okay. Here's what I perceive.

The PM is forcing population growth on Australians and thereby depriving them of secure and affordable futures through driving resource scarcity. We have not been consulted. Not unrelated is the fact that he and Wayne Swann were also involved in the initial creation of Labor Holdings P/L and Labor Resources P/L see "Expert discusses 'deliberately confusing' Labor donations" in Queensland (when they were working for Wayne Goss in the opposition). These ALP-owned companies helped build up massive property holdings and insurance and development investments for the ALP.

The ALP governments, state and Federal, now resemble huge corporations, far richer than the other parties in Australia and richer than many others in the world. Labor Holdings and Labor Resources are used by the ALP to hold donations and other payments so that those moneys will not have to be declared as ALP donations from their original sources; they are declared as donations or 'other receipts' from Labor Holdings or Labor Resources. You can, however, look up income tax declarations for Labor Holdings and Labor Resources here and see where their income comes from. Then, in the same site, you can look for the ALP's income tax declarations and see where the money goes to.

One must suspect that the laws that the State Parliaments make to privilege property development (e.g. Major Transports Facilitation Bill; DACS) also privilege the ALP's investments or those of their friends. The ruthless pushing of laws to override democratic objections is an indication of where the state and Federal governments' loyalty really lies.

The growing presence of property lobby professionals in government and as the major options in elections should raise alarm bells. See, for instance, the participation of candidates from or backed by the Property Council of Australia in elections here and here.

The Federal Government's pushing of population growth through high immigration is a way of keeping property and infrastructure development going (at great cost to the rest of us) - and that seems to be a major business of Labor Party investments in Queensland where Labor Resources and Labor Holdings started, although they go way beyond that state now. The Federal Government's nearly successful attempts to finance private development through taxpayer funding in RuddBank is another indicator of the sick state of our parliaments. The relationship between the Labor Party's friends in private Lobby Groups, their people in government, and the staff in State investment companies (such as Queensland Investment Company) has been the subject of damning journalistic investigations. See, for instance: "In the murky world of lobbying ..." and It is now so blurry that I think you would have to be naive or not to have been aware of these vested interests to believe that our governments were in government rather than in business for themselves. But maybe it is hard for most people to figure out what this all means unless they already know the picture in the jigsaw.

I must say that, when looking at our high profile politicians, my mind drifts to these proverbs: "Love of money is the root of all evil" and "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven." There must be some other proverb to cover the coincidence of ostentatious church attendence and crookedness, but I cannot think of it.

As far as I can see, Australia's state and Federal governments have become the kinds of governments that Australians tend to think of as more typically the corrupt kind found in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Candobetter.org articles also have shown the role of the Australian media - commercial and ABC in advocating for, propping up and marketing this system.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

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Micheal,

Ed. This post also contains an ad, and it isn't congruent with the above article, although the stuff about communication is congruent with the site, so I am letting it pass.

Good on the crew of Sea Shepherd's vessel "Steve Irwin" for declaring their intentions to push for attempted murder charges against the Japanese whalers who sliced their boat Ady Gil in two! Kevin Rudd has blatantly broken numerous promises about stopping Japan's illegal whaling, and by his inaction with full knowledge of what was going on, makes him and our Government guilty too, if the charges prove to be true. If one knows of crimes being committed, yet does nothing, they are an accessory after the fact. An accessory after the fact is a person who assists the principal in the first degree to avoid detection, apprehension or conviction after the offence has been committed. Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, tested 120 pieces of meat, blubber and skin purchased in 1998 and 1999 from Japanese retail shops and fish markets. The tests uncovered products from three protected species - Fin, Sei and Sperm whales, as well as other irregularities. Trading in wildlife, and endangered species, is also an offence under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) of which Australia is party to.

Are there special privileges for Japan that makes them immune from international laws, even attempted murder?

Transfer of Vivienne's comment from the miscellanous lost bucket...

"AFP search warrant for Sea Shepherd, on Japan's behalf
On March 6th, 2010 Vivienne (not verified) says:
What a disgrace our Federal leaders are! Instead of arresting the criminal whale killers, they actually act on their behalf and use our AFP to "investigate" Sea Shepherd. What about Peter Buthane held captive? The cowards we have in government are grovelling to Japan to ensure safe trading relationships and "friendship", and protected whales are just ignored.
Japan's bogus "research" is a cover to return to commercial whaling, and due to our government's incompetence and ignorance, Japan is winning the wars against whales. This is a totally contemptible action by our Federal government, using the taxpayer-funded AFP contrary to our Australian interests. They have surrendered Antarctic security, and the blood of magnificent and gentle whales are heading towards becoming just another red meat!."

If Australia's Prime Minister sides with Japan against Australia, what right does Rudd have to represent Australia as Prime Minister.

Rudd already sides with China and speaks fluent Chinese. Does he have similar allegiances to Japan?

Australia must escort Japanese vessels (which have a home territory 5000 or more kilometres north) out of Australian waters.

Rudd has become a treacherous Prime Minister, favouring the rights of foreign powers over Australian sovereign rights. In doing so, Rudd has breached the Australian Constitution and must be sacked immediately.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

Tigerquoll,

Could you please elaborate, supply some details, such as the sections of the constitution, their words and also how the P.M. has breached them. Otherwise this just looks like rhetoric - with all due respect.

I would say Rudd is a very good actor, much the same as Obama ... he has been put in the position he is in by a higher entity. He is a puppet and has purposely been put in position to screw up the country Australia. Its all part of the grand plan..

In reply to the request above for 'Details Please Tigerquoll' about the unlawful breaches by the Japanese and Australia's failure to act contary to our Constitution, I offer the following summary:

1. Australian Antarctic Territory breached


2. Whale Protection Act, 1980 breached

'Part I - Preliminary
6. Application of Act
(1) This Act extends to every external Territory and, except so far as the contrary intention appears, to acts, omissions, matters and things outside Australia, whether or not in a foreign country.

(2) Subject to subsection (3):
(a) to the extent that a provision of this Act has effect in and in relation to any waters or place beyond the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone, that provision applies only in relation to Australian citizens domiciled in Australia, Australian aircraft and Australian vessels and the members of the crew (including persons in charge) of Australian aircraft and Australian vessels; and
(b) to the extent that a provision of this Act has effect in and in relation to Australia or any waters other than waters referred to in paragraph (a), that provision applies in relation to all persons, aircraft and vessels, including foreign persons, foreign aircraft and foreign vessels.

(3) This Act has effect subject to the obligations of Australia under international law, including obligations under any agreement between Australia and another country or countries.

Part II - Preservation, conservation and protection of whales
9. Killing, taking etc. of whales prohibited
(1) A person shall not:
(a) in waters to which this Act applies, kill, injure, take or interfere with any whale; or
(b) treat any whale that has been killed or taken in contravention of this Act or has been unlawfully imported. '

Japanese whalers keep poaching whales in Australian territorial waters contravention of Australia's Whales Protection Act. Kevin Rudd, as Australia's Prime Minister is dutifully bound to protect Australia's sovereignty and enforce Australian legislation. But he is not.

3. Prime Minister's failure to enforce Australian terrorial legislation constitutes a breach of the Australian Constitution

The COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 122 '
Government of territories' states: "The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit."

Under the COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 120
'Custody of offenders against laws of the Commonwealth'

"Every State shall make provision for the detention in its prisons of persons accused or convicted of offences against the laws of the Commonwealth, and for the punishment of persons convicted of such offences, and the Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws to give effect to this provision."

Australia's federal parliament has enacted the above legislation. The Japanese whalers have breached those laws, yet our Prime Minister fails to enforce these laws. But Rudd lets them go unpunished.

Indeed, Rudd is so appeasing of the Japanese as to be in allegiance with Japanese interests to the detriment of Australia's interests. Under Section 44 of the Constitution sets out restrictions on who can be a candidate for Federal parliament. It reads:

‘44 (i). Any person who..is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power...shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.'

So Rudd needs to work out whether he is siding with Japan or Australia. If Rudd recognises Australian Antarctic Terrorial Waters he needs to uphold and enforce Australia law. If he sides with the Japanese, he is in breach of Section 44 and must be sacked from the House of Representatives forthwith.

Q.E.D.

I also refer to a pertinent well researched letter by Mr Graham J. Clarke (President of Whales in Danger) dated 6th January 2003 to Minister for the Environment and Heritage, David Kemp.

This should be enough detail for now.

I also point out that since the Prime Minister has confirmed he will challenge Japan legally on this issue, indicates that the Australian Government considers Japanese whalers have breached the law and have a case to answer.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

A better future for the aquatic life. The annual Japanese whale hunt in the Antarctic has been derailed by harassment from anti-whaling boats. A global whaling moratorium hasn't stopped Japan from whaling as it contends that the practice continues for the purpose of science. The Sea Shepherded Conservation Society has been driving Japanese whaling ships insane with harassment and in general the Japanese couldn't care less about whether they eat whale meat or not.