Five-Year Review: State Party Australia ratified the convention on 8 October 2012, after enacting implementing legislation. It has participated in all of the convention’s meetings and has coordinated the convention’s victim assistance work since September 2014. Australia works to universalize the convention, especially in Asia and the Pacific. It has condemned new use of cluster munitions, including in South Sudan, Ukraine, and Syria.
In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2013, Australia confirmed it has not used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions and has never possessed an operational stockpile. Australia is, however, retaining two cluster munitions and 276 explosive submunitions for training and research purposes.
Australia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008, ratified on 8 October 2012, and the convention entered into force for the country on 1 April 2013.
Australia’s implementing legislation is the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Act 2012, which also entered into force on 1 April 2013. Australia states the legislation and ban convention “are fully reflected in Australian Defence Force (ADF) doctrine, procedures, rules and directives.” A joint directive issued by the Secretary of the Department of Defence and Chief of the Defence Force on 27 March 2013 instructed all defence personnel on compliance with the Act and ban convention.
Australia submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 6 September 2013 and provided annual updated reports on 11 April 2014 and 30 April 2015.
Australia participated extensively in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and its policy toward the prohibition on cluster munitions evolved significantly during that time. Australia joined in the consensus adoption of the convention in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and signed in December 2008.
Australia engages proactively in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014, where it was appointed co-coordinator on victim assistance together with Mexico. Australia has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva, most recently in June 2015 where it made several interventions.
Promotion of the convention
Australia works to universalize the convention, especially in Asia and the Pacific, where it has supported regional workshops and other activities aimed at addressing cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war (ERW). CMC member SafeGround (formerly the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions) promotes Australia’s support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions and is surveying the impact of ERW in the Pacific, starting in the Solomon Islands.
At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Australia acknowledged reported use of cluster munitions in South Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine, which it stated “defies the growing international norm established by the Convention.” Australia stated that the new use “underlines the need for all states to become a party to the Convention to end for all time the suffering and casualties caused by these indiscriminate weapons.”
Since April 2013, Australia has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria several times. Australia has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.
In March 2014, Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed concern at “recent reports of possible use of cluster munitions in South Sudan” and said “if accurate, this would be contrary to the growing international consensus established by the Convention against the use of these indiscriminate weapons.” As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Australia voted for Resolution 2155 on 27 May 2014, which expressed concern at the use of cluster munitions in South Sudan and called for “all parties to refrain from similar such use in the future.”
Australia has not commented or made any statements to express its views on new cluster munition use in 2015 in Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.
At meetings of the convention in June 2015, Australia proposed watering down language condemning new use of cluster munitions in draft documents to be issued by states at the convention’s First Review Conference in September 2015.
In correspondence, statements made during the Oslo Process, and in the legislative process to enact the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Act 2012, Australia has publicly elaborated its views on several important matters relating to its interpretation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The CMC has described the 2012 implementing law as “extremely problematic” because it “allows its military personnel to assist with cluster munition attacks by states not party, and it creates explicit exceptions for transit across, and foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions in the country’s territory. The provisions not only run counter to the prohibition on assistance but also contravene Article 9, which requires penal sanctions for activities prohibited by the convention and ‘undertaken by persons or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.’ Such interpretations of the convention, which are in the minority, are contrary to both the language of the treaty and its underlying aim.”
Joint military operations
According to the bills digest, Section 72.41 of Australia’s implementing legislation “provides a defence to the offence provisions where prohibited conduct takes place in the course of military cooperation or operations with a foreign country that is not a party to the Convention.” During joint or coalition military operations, ADF personnel could help plan operations, or provide intelligence for and/or contribute logistical support to coalition members, during which a state not party uses cluster munitions.
In the view of the CMC, Section 72.41 of Australia’s implementing legislation may be interpreted to allow Australians to assist in the context of joint or coalition military operations with prohibited activities that run counter to the convention’s object and purpose as well as its prohibition on assistance. In September 2012, the CMC expressed concern that the legislation “allows Australian troops to directly and actively assist in activities prohibited by the Convention during military operations with states not party to it, allowing its military personnel to help plan, give logistical support for, or provide intelligence for cluster munition attacks by states not party.” The CMC believes a State Party can allow participation in joint military operations without permitting these forms of assistance.
In June 2013, a government representative informed the Monitor that “Australia’s view regarding interoperability is a matter of public knowledge and has been consistent throughout the negotiations on the Convention to the present day. Section 72.41 of Australia’s implementing legislation is consistent with the provisions in Article 21 of the Convention.” In a joint statement issued upon Australia’s ratification in October 2012, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Defence, and the Attorney-General stated, “With this legislation, it is now an offence to use…and also to encourage others to engage with these dangerous weapons…The Convention and the Act will also apply to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel during military operations and ADF personnel serving alongside the defence forces of States not party to the Convention.”
In November 2011, the Minister of Defence, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Attorney-General declared that “The ability to maintain interoperability is central to the maintenance of Australia’s national security” and said “Australian Defence Force personnel will not be permitted to use, develop, produce or otherwise acquire cluster munitions, or to make the decision to do so. This includes while serving on combined operations with Defence forces of other countries, in combined headquarters, or on exchange with a foreign force.”
In May 2012, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) informed the Monitor that “ADF personnel involved in joint operations may call in fire support from forces of a State not party to the Convention, where they are aware that cluster munitions may be used. However, ADF personnel must not specifically request the use of cluster munitions where the choice of munitions is within their exclusive control.”
In June 2012, the Attorney-General stated that “ADF personnel serving alongside defense forces of other countries remain subject to Australian domestic and international legal obligations and national policy requirements, which are applied through ADF doctrine, procedures, rules, and directives.”
During the Oslo Process, Australia supported the inclusion in the convention text of provisions on “interoperability” or military relations with states that have not joined the convention (Article 21). In a December 2008 United States (US) diplomatic cable made public by Wikileaks in August 2011, a senior Australian foreign affairs official reportedly informed US officials that “From a policy perspective, Australia would strongly wish to avoid any limitations on ADF involvement in tactical planning with US forces.”
Transit and foreign stockpiling
Section 72.42 of Australia’s implementing legislation explicitly allows states not party to stockpile cluster munitions on Australian soil and permits them to transit cluster munitions through Australian ports and airspace. In the CMC’s view, transit and foreign stockpiling are activities banned under the prohibition on assistance of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Despite agreeing to legislation explicitly allowing foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions in Australia, government representatives have often stated that foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions on Australian soil would not be allowed. Australia’s 2013 Article 7 report states that “the Australian government announced on 23 November 2011 that as a matter of policy ‘it will not approve the stockpiling of cluster munitions in Australia by foreign governments.’” In an October 2012 statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Defence, and the Attorney-General said, “Australia will not approve the stockpiling of cluster munitions in Australia by other countries.” In June 2012, the Attorney-General stated that “the Government has not and will not authorise foreign stockpiles of cluster munitions in Australia.” Before the November 2011 policy decision, Australian officials told the Monitor that the legislation permitted foreign stockpiling in Australia.
Australia’s implementing legislation does not include specific measures to prohibit investment in cluster munition production. In March 2011, DFAT informed the Monitor, “While the Convention does not expressly prohibit investment in companies that produce or manufacture cluster munitions, some acts of investment will fall within the scope of the conduct prohibited by Article 1” of the convention. During Senate debate in 2010, the Attorney-General stated that activities covered by the conduct prohibited by the draft implementing legislation includes where a person “invests in a company that develops or produces cluster munitions, but only where that person intends to assist, encourage or induce the development or production of cluster munitions by that company.” In a March 2011 list of examples of what will fall within the scope of an offense under Australia’s implementation legislation, the Attorney-General’s department stated “The intentional provision of financial assistance to an entity so that the entity can develop or produce cluster munitions will amount to an offence.”
In May 2011, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund confirmed that it had divested itself of holdings in mine and cluster munition manufacturers by excluding 10 companies from its investment portfolio. According to a November 2014 report, at least one Australian financial institution has invested in companies involved the production of cluster munitions.
Australia is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
In its Article 7 reports, Australia has confirmed the “Australian Defence Force (ADF) has not used and does not use cluster munitions operationally.”
Australia has also declared that it “does not have and has never had a stockpile of cluster munitions for operational use.” Before ratifying the convention, Australia stated several times that it has never had an operational stockpile of cluster munitions.
In the initial Article 7 report, Australia clarified that “in the 1970s and early 1980s Australia conducted the KARINGA project” which involved “design trials of an indigenous cluster munition, as well as operational test and evaluation trials.” According to the report, the trials “did not result in a production run” and “the KARINGA was not certified for operational employment, was never introduced into service, and has not been used in any operations.”
Under Form D of the Article 7 reports on the “technical characteristics” of cluster munitions produced/owned or possessed by Australia, it has responded “this information is classified.” In 2010, a senior DFAT official informed the Monitor that approximately 10–20 cluster munitions were tested and Australia also acquired and tested “limited numbers” of US CBU-58 cluster bombs “to ‘baseline’ the Karinga’s performance” but these trials did not result in a production decision.
In its Article 7 reports, Australia has declared the retention of two cluster munitions and 276 explosive submunitions from the former Soviet Union. It has described the retained cluster munitions as “representative samples,” a combination of submunitions and dispensers of which only two bombs are “live” and stated they were not suitable for use.
Australia’s implementation legislation requires Ministerial authorization for the acquisition and retention of cluster munitions for training, counter-measures, and destruction purposes.
 The Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010was approved by the House of Representatives on 18 November 2010 and by the Senate on 21 August 2012 and signed into law on 8 September 2012.
 The initial report covers the period from 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013, while the report provided on 11 April 2014 is for calendar year 2013 and the report provided on 30 April 2015 covers calendar year 2014.
 Australia informed the Monitor that “Australia’s position has been consistent and clear throughout the Oslo Process and beyond. On interoperability in particular, we do not consider there have been changes.” Email from Namdi Payne, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, to Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch (HRW), 13 June 2013. For details on Australia’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 30–35. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also has a webpage on the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
 Statement of Australia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013. Draft Outcomes Statement, Pacific Regional Explosive Remnants of War Workshop, 27–28 June 2013, provided to the Monitor by Lorel Thompson, National Coordinator, SafeGround, 30 March 2014.
 Email from Lorel Thomas, SafeGround, 16 June 2015.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Australia voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.
 Letter to SafeGround from the DFAT, 6 March 2014. The letter was in response to a letter from SafeGround expressing concern at reports of new cluster munition use in South Sudan.
 Australia suggested that because not all incidents of new use have been “verified” or “confirmed,” the draft documents should refer to “allegations of use” instead of “use.” Australia also asked if it was necessary to publicly condemn use that has not been “verified” as it said this could affect the goal of universalization by deterring states from joining. Statement of Australia, Second Preparatory Meetings for the First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 24 June 2015. Notes by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and HRW; and statement of Australia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 22 June 2015. Notes by NPA and HRW.
 Department of Defence, Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010, March 2011; and email from Namdi Payne, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, to Mary Wareham, HRW, 13 June 2013.
 Email from Namdi Payne, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, to Mary Wareham, HRW, 13 June 2013.
 Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Defence, and the Attorney-General, “Australia ratifies global treaty to ban cluster munitions,” 17 October 2012.
 Statement by the Minister for Defence, “Australia committed to Cluster Munitions Convention,” 23 November 2011.
 “Input for Cluster Munition Monitor,” document provided in email from Philip Kimpton, First Secretary/Legal Adviser, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, 14 May 2012.
 Letter from Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General, Ref: MC12/05078, 20 June 2012. The Attorney-General noted that the United Kingdom and Canada “have taken a similar approach to interoperability in their domestic legislation.”
 In 2011, Wikileaks released 10 US Department of State reporting cables for the period from December 2007 to January 2009, showing that Australia consulted closely with the US during the Oslo Process, particularly with respect to interoperability (military relations with states not party to the ban convention). One cable, dated 27 February 2008, cited a meeting with a senior Australian foreign affairs official who requested US assistance in identifying African countries with potential interoperability issues that would support Australia’s views on interoperability in the negotiations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. “Wellington cluster munitions meeting outcomes,” US Department of State cable 08CANBERRA199 dated 27 February 2008, released by Wikileaks on 29 August 2011.
 The cable reports that the official’s understanding of Article 21 is that “Australian military personnel will be prohibited under the CCM [Convention on Cluster Munitions] from physically deploying cluster munitions” and “Australian military personnel embedded with U.S. forces will be able to generally engage in tactical planning, except where such participation amounts to an express request to physically deploy cluster munitions as defined in the CCM, and the choice of munitions used was within the exclusive control of the Australian military personnel.” The Australian official cited in the cable was Gerry McGuire, Director, Arms Control and Counter-Proliferation Branch, DFAT. “Australia clarifies cluster munitions issues for embedded personnel,” US Department of State cable 08CANBERRA1290 dated 18 December 2008, released by Wikileaks on 30 August 2011.
 Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Defence, and the Attorney-General, “Australia ratifies global treaty to ban cluster bombs,” 17 October 2012.
 Letter from Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General, Ref: MC12/05078, 20 June 2012.
 In August 2011, a representative said that the law provided “a defence for military personnel of countries that are not party to the Convention who stockpile, retain or transfer cluster munitions while on a base, ship or aircraft in Australian territory. Notwithstanding this defence, visiting forces would not be allowed to use, develop, produce or acquire cluster munitions in Australia.” Email from Philip Kimpton, Australian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, 10 August 2011. Another official said in March 2011that Article 21(3) permits States Parties to undertake military cooperation and operations with states not party to the Convention which “may extend to hosting foreign bases, aircraft, or ships and, in this context, to the stockpiling, retention and/or transfer of cluster munitions by military personnel of States not party to the Convention.” Letter from Peter Hooton, DFAT, 22 March 2011.
 Letter from Peter Hooton, DFAT, 22 March 2011.
 Attorney-General Robert McClelland, Second Reading of Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010, 27 October 2010. Hansard, 27 October 2010, p. 1755.
 “Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010, Attorney-General’s Department - Additional information,” submission to Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry on the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010.
 Robert Fenner and Gemma Daley, “Australia’s Wealth Fund Dumps Cluster Bomb, Mine Makers on Treaty,” Bloomberg, 2 May 2011.
 PAX, Worldwide investments in Cluster Munitions: a shared responsibility, November 2014, pp. 22 and 73.
 This statement is provided under Form G on “measures to provide warning to the population and risk education.” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form G, 6 September 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form G, 11 April 2014.
 Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 6 September 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 11 April 2014. In April 2013, Australia stated that it has never had “operational stockpiles of cluster munitions” and “will not, therefore, need to undertake a process of stockpile destruction.” Statement of Australia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 16 April 2013.
 Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Defence, and Attorney-General, “Australia committed to Cluster Munitions Convention,” 23 November 2011.
 In addition, under Form E of the Article 7 reports on the “status and progress of programmes for conversion or decommissioning of production facilities” Australia put “not applicable.” Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms D and E, 6 September 2013; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms D and E, 11 April 2014.
 Letter from Peter Hooton, DFAT, 27 April 2010.
 Statement of Australia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Session on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 27 June 2011.
 Section 72.39 permits the retention of cluster munitions using language identical to that of the convention’s Article 3.6. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2012: A Bill for an Act to criminalise some acts involving certain munitions, and for related purposes, 8 October 2012.