Cluster bomb loopholes disregard purpose of global treaty

ALP Caucus votes to stick by US military and remain soft on cluster bomb ban: Cluster Munitions Coalition

22 NOVEMBER 2011: ALP caucus yesterday voted NOT to amend its widely criticised Cluster Munitions Prohibition bill to remove two loopholes that defy the whole intention of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In a small concession to the grave concerns of civil society, the Cluster Munitions Association (Australia) (CMCA) understands that ALP caucus voted to issue a policy statement stating the Government’s intention not to allow stockpiling of cluster munitions on Australian soil. However the provision in the legislation explicitly permitting stockpiling will remain.

CMCA describes the decision as "[prioritising] the needs of the US military over the lives and limbs of future children, farmers, and other unsuspecting civilians".

The two key loopholes the Government has written into the Bill, which the Coalition supports, enable Australian troops to actively assist the USA in the use of cluster bombs and also explicitly permit the USA to stockpile its cluster bombs on Australian soil.  The CMCA notes that "These allowances blatantly disregard the whole intent of the Convention which aims to eradicate these weapons for all time."

  •  Hear a detailed discussion of the issue on Radio National Breakfast, Tuesday 23 November, including MAPW member Michelle Fahy speaking on behalf of the CMCA.
  • Read the full media release and background from CMCA