Australia has blasted new whaling laws passed by Japan, believing them a clear indication the country is lurching towards outright commercial operations.
Australia has blasted new whaling laws passed by the Japanese parliament that allows the country to protect its fleet against activists including Sea Shepherd.
Attorney-General George Brandis said Australia would continue to fight for whale conservation and uphold the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
"The Australian government does not consider that Japan's whaling program is for the purposes of scientific research," Senator Brandis told parliament on Tuesday.
"Nor are we convinced that the program is consistent with the principles of the International Court of Justice's 2014 decision or of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling."
The Japanese laws, which passed unanimously on Friday, lock in public funding for its whaling program and allow government agencies to dispatch vessels to the Southern Ocean to disrupt the efforts of activists.
Senator Brandis said he was aware of concerns Japanese whaling efforts were an assault on Australia's marine and territorial interests and its pursuit of a rules-based global order.
Under questions from Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, the AG indicated Australia was not about to abandon its legal fight against Japanese whaling.
"We point out to the Japanese government firmly but civilly the position of the Australian government," he said.
"We contest the Japanese government's position in international tribunals."