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[ABC News]: Address from Parliament House

Owen

Commonwealth of Australia
Joined
Jul 2, 2018
Messages
1,295
"We're crossing live now to Parliament House in Canberra where the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories will be addressing the media..."

The screen would show the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, and Minister for the Environment, Ros Kelly, walk up to the podium. On the bottom of the screen it would read "BREAKING: AUSTRALIAN SCIENTISTS ARRESTED IN ANTARCTICA."


The Prime Minister would speak.

"Good afternoon everybody,

About half an hour ago I received last communications from the captain of the Australian Icebreaker, the Aurora Australis to inform us that the crew of that ship were currently in the process of being detained by Swedish authorities. From what we understand, numerous Swedish Naval vessels had tracked the Aurora Australis to its current location which is the construction site for the Casey Station, the research station we had intended to build in Antarctica. I was on the phone with the Prime Minister of Sweden and reiterated to him that threats and intimidation of this nature are entirely unwarranted and that this Government will not bow to such threats. These are scientists, completely unarmed, working in the interest of conducting research. At no point in their mission did they pose any threat to Swedish interests in the Antarctic. We do not wish to impede any Swedish activity in the Antarctic. However, the Swedish Government made it clear to us and only as this situation unfolded that they wish to exercise complete and uninterrupted sovereignty over Antarctica, which means that they consider Australians operating their as unauthorised arrivals.

We dispute their claim to the entirety of Antarctic. This is an untouched continent, full of natural beauty. We do not believe that any one nation has the right to exercise full sovereignty over it. And we had, unfortunately, expected that a developed and advanced western nation like Sweden would also share with us that similar liberal ethos. To say that this Government is disappointed in the Swedish actions is an understatement. This was completely.... unexpected behaviour. We do believe the Swedish are fully aware that their claim is widely unrecognised by the international community and we had offered them a forum to discuss the matter of Antarctica in the Global Assembly but unfortunately this has made them more agitated. We will continue to go ahead with the Global Assembly resolution and we will continue to strive for a peaceful outcome and the return of those Australian scientists.

This is nothing but outright aggression by the Swedish Government, unprovoked and unexpected. The only reason to pull the unauthorised arrivals card is if you have something to protect from unauthorised arrivals. We do it because... we have cities, we have communities, we have an economy. There is nothing of similar nature in Antarctica even if Sweden exercised legitimate authority over the continent. There is no reason why our scientists should be impeded. We are asking the Swedish Government to allow the freedom of movement of non-military personnel on the Antarctic continent whilst this matter is before the Global Assembly.

Antarctica needs to be demilitarised. It needs to be used only for peaceful purposes and every naiton of the world should have unimpeded access to the continent to conduct scientific research. These are liberal values which we hope that liberal-thinking countries like Sweden will uphold, because at this point in time they are acting unnecessarily aggressive. I will pass on to Ros to say a few words."

"Uh, good afternoon,

Whilst I am saddened by this news, it will not diminish the hopes and spirits of the Australian Antarctic Division and indeed the broader Department for the Environment, Sport and Territories in order to achieve our goal of scientific research in the Antarctic. We still maintain our base on Macquarie Island and I am assured that that premise is secure. I know our scientists and everybody working on the Antarctic are keen to get down and do some actual work, they've studied and they've committed their careers to the pursuit of Antarctic research and it is my goal to see them do that. As for the Aurora Australis... well it is my hope we get that back, along with our detained personnel. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those scientists and this Government will do everything they can in their power to get them back."

The Prime Minister would speak again.

"Yes, and can I just say, it is my hope that the international community will join us in condemning this move and will join us in debating the Resolution on Antarctica which is before the Global Assembly. We must get this right, we must get a international legal framework in place for this, the last place on earth with no sovereign territory. It is a continent for all of us to share and for all of us to enjoy, not just one. We also ask other members of the international community to formally dispute Sweden's claim. Now I think that's a bit ridiculous that needs to be done but they seem to have this thing in their mind that if its not disputed its somehow theirs which is a bit of a uhhh... well I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion in international legal precedence." The Prime Minister would let out a chuckle.

"Anyway, we will take questions now."
 

Odinson

Kingdom of Norway
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A journalist from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten stood up and asked her question.
"Prime Minister, I'm Asta Otterness with Aftenposten. 'The Antarctic Treaty of 1995' was ratified by both Sweden and Norway in September of last year, and has been public record for that entire time. It recognizes Norway's claim to Queen Maud Land, and Sweden's claim to other parts of Antarctica. These claims have been public all of this time - why is your government choosing now to challenge them? Do you think a more diplomatic route could have been taken instead of sending a manned vessel without permission into Swedish waters?"
@Owen
 

Owen

Commonwealth of Australia
Joined
Jul 2, 2018
Messages
1,295
"Going to be honest with you Asta, things being public record doesn't necessarily mean they come to our attention. I'm busy, my government is busy, we deal with a lot of matters. This treaty was not publicly put out there for us to pay enough attention to it. Regardless of the fact, we would have sent the vessel anyway because its conducting research in a part of the world we do not recognise as Swedish territory, we do not seek Sweden's permission to do something like that because we do not believe that have a legal authority to be dishing out permissions. In fact we've made our own claim for that part of Antarctica. So I guess the question is, why has Sweden decided to send vessels into Australian waters? No we're not pursuing that line, because we know it is just a claim. We don't plan on enforcing it as sovereign territory and neither should have done so with theirs. We want to resolve this matter in the GA like civilised nations and to formalise a treaty that is not just between Sweden and Norway but with the entire world and all of those with vested interests in the region."
 

Connor

Kingdom of Sweden
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A journalist from SVT News would follow on from the Norwegian:

"Thank you Prime Minister, I'm reporting for SVT News, could I ask why you see law enforcement activities as aggressive when Australia has some of the strictest immigration, customs and border control policies in the world? Further to that, do you think it's justifiable to simply 'claim' territory that's already occupied by another state? New Zealand and Indonesia are very close to Australia however we're yet to see an invasion of their territory?"

@Owen
 

Owen

Commonwealth of Australia
Joined
Jul 2, 2018
Messages
1,295
"Well I think it's obviously who's paying you off with such a loaded question like that. You know usually the media isn't supposed to be a mouthpiece for their government but I will respond anyway. Antarctica is a unique situation. This is a part of the globe that no one has internationally recognised sovereignty over. Let's make this clear, the only other country to recognise Sweden's territory in the Antarctic is Norway. Hence, Sweden does not have the legal basis to claim sovereignty over this territory. As for occupation, there's still no occupation on that continent. We were unaware of any attempts to "occupy" the continent until this situation happened. Sweden have clearly sent a armada down there, but an actual presence in the entire continent by the Swedes is still yet to be seen. We landed there pretty much without being stopped. I don't see how that counts as a sufficient occupation. We were transparent about our presence in Antarctica, Sweden have not been. But our position is clear, there has no been consultation with the international community about this, this has been nothing but a blatant land grab by the Swedish done stealthily and without any consideration for any other country who wishes to conduct scientific research in Antarctica. It is shameful and hopefully the international community will join me in condemning this now that it has been brought to their attention.

But may I also say, because of our transparency the Swedish were able to know we were there in Antarctica and secretly sent that armada to surround our scientists. They knew straight from when they left port in Hobart that they were heading to Antarctica. I received no correspondence whatsoever from the Swedish to stop that mission instead they chose to do this in what I can only say is a disgusting act of trying to detain our scientists. We had equipment and personnel on the ground in Antarctica there was no way in which they could've packed up and left quickly enough for the Swedish not to issue arrest warrants."
 

Connor

Kingdom of Sweden
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Jul 23, 2018
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2,281
The journalist is slightly taken aback by the Trump-style attack on the media, yet takes notes for an up-coming piece.
 
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