Environment Minister Peter Garrett has decided that he should attend the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Portugal next month instead of his much touted Whaling Envoy, Sandy Hollway, it was revealed today.
Questioning in Senate Estimates today revealed that despite spending more than $309,106.36 for Mr Hollway’s fees and travel costs, accumulated in just 44 day of work as the Whaling Envoy, Mr Hollway will now be left at home for the primary annual meeting on whaling issues.
“The weather may be nice in Portugal in June, but that is no excuse for Mr Garrett to attend the IWC meeting ahead of his highly paid Whaling Envoy,” Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
“Although racking up a whole lot of expenses, the Government’s war against whaling has amounted to little more than a whole lot of blubber.
“Sandy Hollway has been paid $1,800 per day for 44 days work. Travel costs for Mr Hollway and an accompanying official have amounted to $159,876, as they visited the United States, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal and Sweden.
“Mr Hollway’s travels have almost put Mr Rudd’s to shame, yet for some reason Mr Garrett now thinks he would be better qualified to attend the one annual meeting of the IWC.
“Having racked up costs of more than $300,000 in just seven months Mr Hollway should have met everyone possible with an interest in whaling by now. There is no way that Mr Garrett could be better qualified to secure outcomes at the IWC than Mr Hollway.
“If Mr Hollway isn’t the most qualified person to attend the IWC, then why have hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars been spent on his appointment?
“The Government even confirmed it was extending Mr Hollway’s appointment by a further three months – well past the conclusion of the IWC meeting.
“No doubt, Mr Hollway will be back in the air just as soon as Mr Garrett has completed his winter escape to Portugal.”
The 61st annual meeting of the IWC is being held at the Pestana Casino Park Hotel, Madeira, Portugal between Sunday 31 May and Friday 12 June.
The Pestana Casino Park Hotel…
where Mr Garrett will attend the International Whaling Commission annual meeting
instead of his Whaling Envoy, Mr Hollway…