Monday, 23 December 2013

Yet another broken promise by the Abbott Government

Prior to its election on 7 September 2013 the Abbott Government promised to send an Australian customs vessel into the Southern Ocean during the present Japanese whaling season.

We now learn that it has instead decided to send an aircraft to monitor the whaling fleet and protest boats.

An aircraft which will have to turn around and return to home base once it has flown a mere 1,870 nautical miles or around 3,463 km.

According to the Department of the Environment’s Australian Antarctic Division the distance between Hobart and Casey Station in Antarctica is 3,443 km.

Adverse weather conditions, poor visibility and fuel consumption constraints are likely to mean that the Abbott Government will not have this lone aircraft within sight of the whaling fleet for more than a handful of days over the 3-4 month killing season.

Liberal Party MP Greg Hunt as Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage.

Media Release announcing the Coalition Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan on 23 August 2013 during the federal election campaign:

Snapshot taken 22 December 2013

Greg Hunt as Minister for the Environment in the Abbott Government.

ABC News 22 December 2013:

The Federal Government will send a plane to the Southern Ocean in an effort to step up its monitoring of Japanese whaling fleets early next year.
Customs will send an A319 during the whaling season, which begins in January and ends in March.
A number of nations have recently warned environmentalists and whalers against taking action that endangers human life.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt says the Government is acting in the absence of a decision against whaling by the International Court of Justice.
He says it is important Australia has a monitoring presence in the area given the risk of confrontation between whalers and anti-whaling protestors in order to ensure both parties obey the law.
Minke whales
One of the smallest species of baleen whales, growing to nearly nine metres long and a weight of about 10 tonnes.
The most abundant baleen whale species and are found in all the world's oceans.
There are an estimated 800,000 worldwide.
The common minke and the Antarctic minke are distinguished by size and colour pattern differences.
There is also a dwarf minke species.
Feed primarily on krill and small fish and can gather in pods of hundreds of whales.
Pacific minkes reproduce year-round.
Japan has an International Whaling Committee permit to kill about 850 Antarctic minkes for 'scientific research'.
According to the Australian Government, their conservation status is listed as of "least concern".
"It will be to ensure that there is a presence to make sure that there is no conflict between the parties," he said.
"It will also be to make sure there is an awareness between the parties that the world is watching."

The aircraft in question

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