'Whaling Envoy to Stay Despite Poor Result' - in The West Australian
September 9, 2009
By Peter Williams
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett plans to extend the term of whaling envoy Sandy Hollway again despite criticism of his lack of success and cost to taxpayers.
The West Australian understands the Minister intends to renew Mr Hollway's contract, which expires at the end of this month, so long as the former Sydney Olympics chief wants to keep doing the job.
In June, the Government extended Mr Hollway's term by three months amid Opposition criticism of the cost of his travels and that he was not attending the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting.
The envoy recently held meetings in the US and Germany as part of efforts to persuade Japan to give up its so-called scientific whaling program.
The Government prefers to keep his terms of appointment short to allow for changes in strategy and not give whaling nations the idea that negotiations would he indefinite.
There has been no breakthrough since Mr Hollway started the job last October. Budget figures show that 44 days of his activities cost more than $300,000.
Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research spokesman Glenn Inwood said the annual quota of killing 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales off Antarctica was unchanged for the coming season.
He said the Australian envoy made little difference to IWC talks. "I don't think Sandy Hollway has been able to influence discussions in any particular direction at all," Mr Inwood said.
Shadow environment minister Greg Hunt said Mr Garrett would not have needed an envoy had he taken international legal action against Japan as promised.
"Mr Hollway is actually doing the job that Mr Garrett should have been doing himself instead of spending taxpayers' dollars on getting the hired help," Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hollway could not be contacted yesterday.
Japanese Greenpeace activist Toru Suzuki called for the Australian Government to focus on diplomacy instead of legal action because of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan's election victory this month.
But Mr Inwood said the DPJ had the same policy of support for whaling as the outgoing government.