Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


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

12:37 pm

Photo of David FeeneyDavid Feeney (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence) Share this | Hansard source

I do not really have much to add to where we got to in the debate last night, Senator Ludlam. I will repeat the position we reached. The events in 2003 occurred well before the convention, so obviously Australia, at that time, did not have any obligations under the convention. We have not made any assessment about how current convention obligations might have affected military operations in 2003.

I repeat the point I made at the conclusion of last night—that in the view of the government this convention, and our support for it, is an important step forward. We believe the interoperability provisions found in this legislation are critically important both to the workings of the treaty itself and to Australia's alliance relationship with the United States. As I also said last night, if interoperability provisions like this were not found in the bill and were not countenanced by the convention, that would, in our judgement, greatly weaken the convention and support for it. You would be creating a situation in which any nation which had an alliance relationship with any one of the United States, Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Brazil or a plethora of other nations might feel unable to support the convention. We think that would reduce the value of the convention—we would be dealing with a convention with far fewer signatories and which therefore exerted far less influence towards the creation of an international norm where these weapons are not used. There is nothing new in all that, Senator Ludlam—I am simply repeating the case I put to you last night.


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