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Munitions ban gets green light

Munitions ban gets green light

A leading parliamentary committee has recommended the banning of cluster munitions in Australia.The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee has tabled its report on the…

A leading parliamentary committee has recommended the banning of cluster munitions in Australia.

The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee has tabled its report on the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010 and recommended that Federal Parliament pass the Bill.

In December 2008, Australia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. A total of 108 countries are parties or signatories to the Convention, with notable non-signatories including China, Israel, India, Pakistan and the USA.

"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," Attorney-General Robert McClelland said. "It will add to Australia's strong legal framework against weapons that cause indiscriminate harm."

The Bill would make it an offence to develop, produce or stockpile cluster munitions, or assist anyone engaged in these activities.

If Parliament passes the Bill, proposed penalties for breaches include 10 years imprisonment for individuals and a $330,000 fine for corporations.

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