Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010; In Committee

12:47 pm

Photo of Scott LudlamScott Ludlam (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

That is extremely concerning. Colombia noted:

The government 'absolutely rejects … any manner of … storage of foreign cluster bombs in Colombian territory' …

Guatemala wrote that it considered:

… the stockpiling of cluster munitions of other countries in the territory of a State Party to the Convention, as well as the investment in its production is prohibited according to Article 1 of the Convention.

Slovenia stated:

'[In] our view the Convention … contains the prohibition of … stockpiling of cluster munitions by third countries on the territory of each State Party. Therefore, such activities are illegal and not allowed on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.'

The Australian government have said: 'No, trust us. We won't let that happen, not on our watch.' We do not yet have a position from the coalition. But I take no comfort whatsoever from that. The Minister for Defence could stand up the day after tomorrow and say, 'We changed our minds,' and this legislature would be able to do nothing about it. Why has Australia taken a position that is so contrary to that of these other signatories? Why are we maintaining this wriggle room? I do not understand. I trust the minister when he tells me that that is not something the Australian government would do, but I do not understand why we are leaving this loophole wide open in the law. This is our opportunity to fix it.


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