Greens Welcome Steve Irwin's Safe Return to Hobart

And Congratulate Newly-Wed Sea Shepherds

Nick McKim MP

Saturday, 21st February 2009
For Comment: State Parliamentary Offices of the Tasmanian Greens, (03) 6233 8300

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the safe return to Hobart of the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, and their ship Steve Irwin, and congratulated the activists for their heroic obstruction of Japanese whaling efforts in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary off Antarctica.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said the Sea Shepherd activists are doing the job of the Rudd Labor Government which was elected in 2007 while talking tough about whaling, but which has since done very little to back up its pre-election words with post-election action.

Mr McKim also congratulated Sea Shepherd activists Andrew Perry and Molly Kendall who were married on Scott Island in the Ross Sea just last week by Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson, and presented the new couple with a wedding gift on behalf of the Tasmanian community.

"Tasmania is extremely well represented onboard the Steve Irwin by Ashley Dunn from Launceston and Andrew Perry who has been based in Hobart, and I have the pleasure of presenting a hamper of gourmet Tasmanian produce for Andrew and his new wife Molly Kendall, who were married last week by Steve Irwin Captain Paul Watson," Mr McKim said.

"The Steve Irwin crew have spent most of the last two months at sea off Antarctica risking their own lives to save whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary - there is no doubt that these activists are heroes."

"Given the Australian public's strong opposition to whaling, many will be astounded by the unprecedented raid upon the Steve Irwin by the Australian Federal Police when it docked last night."

"The Australian government should focus its attention on dealing with the Japanese whalers who are breaching the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with impunity, rather than hassle the Sea Shepherd."

"The Japanese whalers upped the ante this season by engaging in aggressive attempts to ram the Steve Irwin, to foul its propellers with ropes, and to injure its crew with long range acoustic weapons, but the activists continued their mission despite the life-threatening behaviour of the Japanese whalers."

"Sea Shepherd are now doing the job that Australians expected their own government to do when they elected Kevin Rudd in 2007."

Mr McKim also noted that Sea Shepherd activists are regularly accused by Japan of acting "illegally" in their attempts to prevent whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, and called on the Bartlett Labor Government to cease playing the same political game as the whalers, who focus only on the supposed legality of protests while pointedly ignoring their root causes and potential solutions.