22 Jun 2005

Australia wants Solomon Islands to explain whaling vote

7:36 pm on 22 June 2005

The Australian government says it wants Solomon Islands to explain why it voted for the resumption of commercial whaling after an earlier commitment to abstain.

The Solomons delegation voted with Japan which failed to get the necessary majority at the International Wahling Commission meeting to end the moratorium.

The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bruce Billson, says the Solomons government has to explain the change of its position.

"We need to make further representation to the Solomon islands government in Honiara to see how earlier assurances have transformed into different actions actually in Korea."

Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, says his government instructed the fisheries minister, Paul Maenu'u to abstain.

Sir Allan he has been assured that the vote was cast in line with the cabinet decision.

And he says if this turns out to be incorrect, Mr Maenu'u could lose his job.

The delegation will face the consequences. The result may be the sacking of the minister.

Sir Allan Kemakeza