Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been criticized for his “dead silence” on the issue of Japanese whale hunting. Labor Party leader Bill Shorten called out the prime minister for his refusal to broach the sensitive topic during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Shorten, noted that Abbott had “talked tough” on the issue of whaling before the elections but shirked back when it mattered the most. He said that, “The prime Minister was going to be the whales’ best friend,” referring to Abbott’s promise to tackle the issue during his campaign. “Now what happens is once he gets into power he heads overseas, starts rubbing shoulders with other people including the head of Japan, (and there’s) dead silence,” he further stated. Shorten also attacked Abbott’s leadership, saying that he “should be the same leader overseas as he is in Australia.” Christine Milne, the head of Greens, a political party focused on environmental issues, sees the same thing and said that the Australian leader is timid when it comes difficult issues with other leaders. She recounted how Abbott, “abandoned taking it up to any of these countries – the same in Sri Lanka on human rights and war crimes.” She said that the prime minister has “ducked it again with Japan when it comes to whaling.”
Abbott on the other hand, had said that Abe is already aware about Australia‘s stand about the issue even before their meeting. “I want to focus today on issues where we can make progress, I don’t want to just go over old ground,” Abbott said. His focus was on closing the Japan-Australia free trade agreement. “We have already concluded negotiations with Korea. I am very happy with the way those negotiations turned out,” he said. The agreement with Korea aims to establish a better export relationship with the nation. “Similarly, I am looking for a win-win deal for the people of Australia and the people of Japan and that will be the focus of my discussions with the Japanese Prime Minister,” stated Abbott.
[via The Australian]