Cluster Munitions Ban Tabled in Australian Senate
Canberra, Australia (News4us.com) March 28, 2011
Attorney-General Robert McClelland today welcomed the recommendation of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee that Parliament pass the Government’s legislation to ban cluster munitions in Australia.
The Committee’s report into the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010 has been tabled in the Senate.
“Australia is a leading supporter of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and was one of its first signatories in December 2008,” Mr McClelland said.
“The Government’s Cluster Munitions Prohibition Bill includes the legislative measures necessary for Australia to give effect to the Convention.
“The Senate Committee’s report recommends Parliament passes the legislation to ensure that all conduct prohibited by the Convention is an offence under Australian law, as required by the Convention.
“It will add to Australia’s strong legal framework against weapons that cause indiscriminate harm.”
The Bill will make it an offence to:
- use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer cluster munitions; and
- assist, encourage or induce anyone to undertake these activities.
“The Bill introduces tough penalties against using, developing, producing, stockpiling or transferring a cluster munition, including a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for individuals or a $330,000 fine for bodies corporate,” Mr McClelland.
“These serious penalties will also apply to a person or body corporate that intentionally provides financial assistance to the development or production of cluster munitions.”
The Convention establishes a framework for cooperation and assistance to provide care and rehabilitation for victims, clearance of cluster munitions contaminated areas, risk education and the destruction of stockpiles.
The Bill will also allow Australia to continue to undertake military cooperation and operations, consistent with the Convention, with allies that have not signed the Convention.
The Committee’s report acknowledges that the ability to undertake such operations is essential to Australia’s ability to engage with its allies.
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