Australia's willingness to negotiate with Japan in regards to its whaling activities actually reflects positively on the Australian Government, says an international law expert.
Professor Donald Rothwell of the Australian National University told Lawyers Weekly that, despite criticism of the Australian Government following a WikiLeaks revelation that Australia considered reaching a compromise with Japan, the leaked US diplomatic cables simply reveal that alternatives to legal action were explored and do not undermine the legal action commenced by Australia against Japan in the International Court of Justice last year.
"It just highlights that Australia explored negotiation options prior to taking legal action," said Rothwell.
"This shows Australia was acting in good faith and did not initiate legal action without exploring other options to resolve the dispute."
According to the leaked documents, New Zealand and the US agreed to reach a compromise with Japan in regards to its controversial whaling activities, and Australia privately indicated that compromise was a possibility, despite maintaining a strong public stance against Japan's whaling activities.
Under the agreement, which was discussed in the lead up to the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in mid-2009, the ban on commercial whaling would have been overturned if Japan agreed to cut back the number of whales culled under its so-called scientific research program.