Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne has called on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to pursue the Russian Government to secure the release of Greenpeace activists, and to make public information about their arrest at gunpoint.
The activists, who include one citizen from Tasmania and a permanent resident from Sydney, were protesting to highlight the dangers of oil spills associated with Artic drilling as ice floes break up due to global warming.
"I have serious concerns about the safety of these activists and the circumstances in which their vessel was boarded," Senator Milne said.
"The Australian Government must pursue and release information from the Russian Government about the grounds for the arrest of the activists and do everything to have them freed.
"The world was shocked by the enormous damage to eco-systems and local communities caused by large scale oil spills like Exxon Veldez.
"We cannot allow secretive prosecutions of the dedicated activists who seek to expose these risks and prevent future disasters. We must have full transparency.
"These activists must be released immediately. Greenpeace say their vessel was boarded in international waters.
"Australia has a duty to ensure the welfare of these activists and Australian citizens, and to defend the right to peaceful protest. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the government must uphold these principles."