"Obviously we need to know what is happening down there but at this stage it's unlikely we will use the air force," Defense Minister Wayne Mapp told The Dominion Post. "I'm not really sure what we will be doing."
While he was the National Party spokesman on defense, Mapp urged the Labor government to use an air force plane, saying that the country "must put our money where our mouth is" when it comes to whaling.
The Australian government doesn't plan to send a patrol ship because the Japanese are expected to be in an area of the Antarctic seas where New Zealand is responsible for search and rescue.
The Steve Irwin, a Sea Shepherd ship named after the Australian celebrity reptile expert, is in Brisbane preparing to go to sea to try to stop the whalers. The crew this year includes movie star Darryl Hannah.