A GLOBAL ban on cluster bombs will be ''sabotaged'' by laws about to be put to the Australian Senate, warn activists and Greens after what appears likely be an unsuccessful two-year campaign to stop the bill.
The government proposed changes to the criminal code in 2010 to vary laws that give a legal basis to Australia's commitment to the global prohibition on cluster munitions.
But Labor backbenchers expressed grave reservations last year following claims by activists that the bills went against the spirit of the global ban.
That opposition was further fuelled after leaked US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks showed Australia had secretly worked with Washington to weaken the ban on cluster bombs.
But Labor has quelled backbench disquiet and will put the bill to the Senate today, with a vote expected this afternoon.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam told the National Times the changes will allow Australia to load, transport and store cluster weapons — everything short of firing them.
He said after the decision to base US marines in the Northern Territory, as well as an expanded US airforce and naval presence, the prospect of storing cluster bombs in Australia should be ruled out.
''It would be a bit like if they proposed to put chemical weapons, [such as] mustard gas or nerve agents, on Australian territory. We just wouldn't have it,'' Senator Ludlam said.
Michelle Fahy from the Cluster Munition Coalition in Australia said in a statement this morning she was dismayed the government had ignored calls to fix the legislation.
"As expressly required by the treaty, Australia should in fact be encouraging its allies to join the ban treaty and to never use cluster munitions again," Ms Fahy said.