Cluster Bomb Storage Legislation 20th August 2012

Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010

(MAPW’s original submission on the cluster munitions prohibitions Bill :

http://www.mapw.org.au/files/downloads/2011-01-21_MAPW%20submission%20CCA-CMP.pdf )

By Mary Wareham

The Cluster Munition Coalition in Australia (CMCA) is deeply concerned that Australia is considering adopting weak legislation that does not sufficiently meet its commitment to the ban on cluster bombs.Australiahas signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but must enact national implementation legislation before it can ratify.

The two main issues are the clauses on interoperability (paragraph 72.41) that allows Australia to assist non state parties in using cluster bombs, and the clause on stockpiling (paragraph 72.42) that allows non state parties to stockpile and transit cluster bombs on Australian territory.

On Monday, 20 August, the Australian Senate is scheduled to debate the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010. The CMCA has expressed its concerns over the draft legislation with Australian representatives and its members made submissions in January 2011 to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade requesting that key sections of the proposed implementing legislation be strengthened and clarified. In its report issued in March 2011, the Committee ignored calls from more than two dozen submitters to fix the Bill and instead recommended no changes, referring the legislation back to the Senate without amendment. No action has been taken on the legislation for the past 17 months, which has seen strong campaigning for the widely criticized legislation to be improved.

Australian officials argue that the Bill “faithfully implements the Convention” by ensuring that “all conduct that is prohibited by the Convention is the subject of a criminal offence under Australian law while also allowing conduct permitted by the Convention.” However the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010 allows Australian forces to assist in activities prohibited by the treaty during military operations with states not party to the Convention, including assisting in the use of cluster munitions. Section 72.42 of the draft law also allows states not party to transfer cluster munitions through or store them on Australian territory, activities that, in the CMC’s view, are banned under the convention’s prohibition on assistance.

If the bill is passed without amendment,Australiawill have some of the world’s weakest national implementing legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, setting a poor example for other states to follow. The CMCA looks forward toAustraliabeing Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it is first, however, crucial that the flaws in its implementing legislation be addressed.

For more information onAustralia, see:

  • Submissions to the Bill on Cluster Munitions
  • Current text of Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010
  • Web story by Aotera New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition. CMCA thanks Mary Wareham for her support and work on this issue.
  • Press Release by CMC International on the Australian legislation

ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTION

We have prepared a number of great images (attached in this message) with great and different slogans that you can use and post on your Facebookto share with your network. It is fantastic if you happen top have some Australian diplomats, politicians or journalists as Facebookfriends, so share with them! You can add a link to the CMC Australia web story: http://bit.ly/Q6JxBo or other relevant stories online so people can get more information about the problem.

We love to be yourFacebookfriend as well so you can share your postings directly with us. OurFacebookname is “Cluster Munitions”.

PHONE AND EMAIL ACTION

We think the following could be the target for a phone/email action. Please call the Senators between Monday Canberratime. (For World Clock Time: http://bit.ly/WorldClockCallTimes.)

  1. The Australian Embassy in your region: http://www.dfat.gov.au/missions/
  2. Senator Nicola Roxon / Phone. +61 2 6277 7300 / Email: attorney@ag.gov.au
  3. Senator the Hon Bob Carr / Phone: +61 2 6277 7500 / Fax: +61 2 6273 4112  / Email: bob.carr@aph.gov.au / Twitter: @bobjcarr
  4. Senator Ann McEwen / Phone: +61 2 6277 3434 / Fax: +61 2 6277 3425 / Email: senator.mcewen@aph.gov.au
  5. Senator Jacinta Collins / Phone: +61 2 6277 3115  / Email: jacinta.collins@aph.gov.au /

Key message on the phone or in the email:

Tell who you are and that you are calling to request that the Australian Government amend and fix the Australian bill on cluster munitions. The bill is simply not good enough. The two main issues are the clauses on interoperability (paragraph 72.41) that allows Australia to assist non state parties in using cluster bombs, and the clause on stockpiling (paragraph 72.42) that allows non state parties to stockpile and transit cluster bombs on Australian territory. Fix there Bill!

Please let us know who you have called or emailed, and if possible share this with us onFacebookand/or on Twitter:  OurFacebookname is “Cluster Munitions” / Twitter: @CMCAustralia

The Cluster Munitions website has more info if you need details http://bit.ly/Q6JxBo