23 Jun 2005

Australian environment minister disappointed by Solomons vote at Whaling Commission

10:43 am on 23 June 2005

The Australian environment minister, Ian Campbell, has expressed disappointment that Solomon Islands voted for a Japanese proposal to resume commercial whaling.

The minister says he had been assured by the Solomon Islands government that it would abstain from voting at the International Whaling Commission meeting in South Korea.

The Japanese bid failed.

Mr Campbell says he believes that the Solomon Islands prime minister is an honourable man who must be devastated that his minister defied cabinet.

"It's very unfortunate I've got to say, that a cabinet makes a decision and it's not followed through. But, it's an issue for the government of the Solomon Islands and I think Australia and New Zealand are working together to try to build the quality of governance and the institutions in Solomon Islands. That's going to be a matter of life and death for the people of Solomon Islands."