Opposition cautiously backs anti-whaling measures
Posted 2 hours 42 minutes ago
Updated 1 hour 34 minutes ago
Customs ship Oceanic Viking will shadow the Japanese fleet.
The Federal Opposition says the Government's new anti-whaling measures are responsible.
Australia will send a customs boat, Oceanic Viking, to the Southern Ocean to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet and put in place a range of diplomatic measures to step up pressure on Japan.
Federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson says he hopes Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has discussed the issue with his Japanese counterpart.
"Japan has been a key ally of Australia and a democracy since the end of World War II," he said.
"It is a very important relationship we have with Japan.
"Notwithstanding the fact that all of us in this country are quite appalled by continuing whaling activity that has been led by Japan."
The new measures have received a mixed reaction from environmentalists.
The Greens say the Federal Government's efforts fall short and are likely to fail.
Steve Shallhorn from Greenpeace has welcomed the Government's commitments but says they will still be confronting the Japanese fleet.
"Greenpeace will go down to the Southern Ocean and we will protect individual whales," he said.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says Japan can no longer claim that the killing of minke, humpback and fin whales is for scientific research.
"There are non-lethal ways of continuing and developing your research into whales," he said.