Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


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

1:08 pm

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

The minister has used the term 'authorisation' of weapons being stockpiled or transited through Australia. I also thank Senator Birmingham; I guess we can only hope that in the unlikely event that there is a change of government next year he ends up as the defence minister and then we can hold him to his word—which I absolutely believe; I know he cares a great deal about these issues. However, we have even less from the coalition than we have from the government. From the government we have a hypothetical policy statement that may be announced at some future stage down the track; from the coalition we have Senator Birmingham assuring us that he loathes these weapons as much as anybody else and would not want to see them stored here.

I am interested to know how we would actually prevent it. How is this going to work in practice? When US warships that may or may not be nuclear armed transit through Australian ports, the US Navy has a policy of neither confirming nor denying that the ships are carrying nuclear weapons. To what degree would we even know about the weapons on these vessels or aircraft moving through Australian waters or airspace, stabled temporarily at Tindal air base or wherever else, in order to issue an authorisation in the first place?


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