As one of the very last acts of the Howard Government, Brendan Nelson bought $14 million worth of cluster bombs - weapons that contain mini-bombs, some of which remain unexploded on the ground for years awaiting innocent civilians. It's the first time Australia has bought such a weapon, and one we would hope the new Government would categorically reject.
But right now, as the international community meets in Dublin to ban them, the new Australian Government is going out of its way to frustrate the process. They're calling for their 'SMART 155' bomb to be excluded, and for rogue nations who persist in using cluster bombs to be permitted to do so. We've got just a few scarce days left before the fragile international agreement is drafted. Sign the petition today telling Kevin Rudd to ban the bomb: no loopholes, no exceptions.
Thousands of civilians have lost their lives and limbs, mainly children from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. So much so that the international symbol of the campaign is a limb. Just last week the Pope took the unusual step of calling on the international community to outlaw the deadly weapons.
But our government has refused to accept that a total ban on cluster munitions has to prohibit countries from assisting other nations who use cluster bombs. They are also arguing that the Smart 155 is not a cluster munition, despite having no independent tests on its safety and refusing to provide any evidence to back up that claim.
The UK Prime Minister yesterday reversed his decision to exempt his own weapons, leaving Australia increasingly isolated. We should be encouraging positive international agreements to save lives, not hindering them. Tell the PM today - as this decision is being made right now - to ban the bombs.
I've already voted, click the link and add yours. Whatever Nelson gets now, he's got it coming after ordering these.