From an article in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 25 February 2010:
Australia has been urged to harpoon a proposal which could see Antarctic whaling continue for years - and become more legally secure.
A group of nations, which includes Australia, has issued a proposed deal-breaker on the vexed international issue of whaling.
The draft deal would lift the ban on commercial whaling, while reducing the total number of whales killed each year by ending so-called "scientific" whaling.
There are indications key nations support the deal and it could succeed.
Conservation groups are angry and want Australia to use its position to fight against the proposal.
The deal has been issued by a "small working group" of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which includes Australia and Japan.
It is a draft deal which has not yet been approved; it is understood Australia will not support it.
Currently, commercial whaling is banned but countries can hunt whales in the name of science. Up to 1900 whales are killed each year.
The proposal would lift the commercial ban. Japan would legally be able to hunt whales without relying on the "science" justification.
The pay-off is that the proposal says the number of whales hunted would be significantly reduced from current levels.
The new deal would appear to allow for the hunting of minke whales, fin and humpback whales in the southern hemisphere.
It would come into force on November 1 this year.
There is a high degree of probability that Japan would seek to raise its kill quota in the future if this proposal passed.
The Government of Japan already appears to believe it has the divine right of kings when it comes to the world's oceans.
It's whaling fleet has been reported as indulging in indiscrimate killing of whale females in calf.
Right now Japan is floating the possibilty that it will refuse to abide by any European Union ban on commercial blue fin tuna fishing.
Japan is a already a bad neigbour to Australia and the rest of the world and, is rapidly becoming a rogue state on the high seas.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd needs to fight the Government of Japan on the matter of pseudo scientific-commercial whaling. He needs to do this swiftly and strongly.
It's time he stopped allowing himself to be held to ransom on the basis that any escalation of our continued firm opposition to killing whales would offend a major trading partner.