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There is increasing concern of further clashes in the Southern Ocean with the report that the Japanese have despatched an ice-breaking military ship to the region.

The Government is continuing to ignore the maritime and environmental risk from a potential clash between the whaling fleet and protestors in the Southern Ocean.

The Australian Government has a responsibility to protect and monitor our waters and to provide a cop on the beat.

The Government’s continued failure to act and breaking of its election promise to have a presence in the Southern Ocean, leaves Australians unable to verify the reports of what is occurring on the water.

We are dependent on reports from either the protesters or the whalers, with no independent verification.

We remind all parties that they must obey maritime law.

The Coalition continues to oppose whaling and will, if elected, send a Customs vessel to the Southern Ocean.

It is extremely disappointing that the current vessel, the Ocean Protector, has had to be diverted to the north of the country to assist in the ongoing demands created by this Government’s failed asylum seeker policy.

We do not want to see a repeat of the confrontation which has occurred between the whaling fleet and protestors which risks lives and the environment from a potentially fatal collision and oil spill in the Antarctic waters.