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Hunt's latest statement is that he's not going to send the vessel at all. Instead he plans to "monitor the Japanese whale hunt by plane"
Hunt has now said that the patrol vessel will be sent to the Southern Ocean after all, but he wants another ten days before he even makes a formal statement. Meanwhile, the Japanese whaling fleet is heading south.
Australian’s current government made a promise before the last election to send a suitable patrol vessel to monitor Japanese whaling activities, which are just about to resume in the Southern Ocean. The vessel’s presence would deter the whaling fleet from killing whales in Australian waters. It is also needed to monitor the clashes between whalers and protestors, which sometimes turn violent.
The government has not kept its promise. The boat in question, the armed Ocean Protector, is currently being used for the rather more dubious task of trying to catch asylum seekers around Christmas Island, and there are no signs it is going to be redeployed any time soon.
Turning a blind eye to whaling while squandering resources on populist, and useless, immigration make-work is not what this government said it would do.
Insist the Australian government keeps its promise and moves the Ocean Protector to the Southern Ocean to monitor whaling, not chase asylum seekers.
We the undersigned ask that you keep you pledge to send the Ocean Protector, which appears to be the only suitable vessel available, to the Southern Ocean to monitor Japanese whaling activities.
We understand that this specialist operational patrol vessel is currently being used for nothing more than attempting to intercept asylum seekers around Christmas Island, which is not its purpose or your promise.
Protecting whales, or at least monitoring whaling, is far more important than harassing desperate people.
We respectfully insist that you keep your promises and not waste resources on politically motivated, and at times ethically dubious, immigration control work.
Thank you for your attention.