There must be many politicians and bureaucrats and in both Washington and Canberra who continue to curse WikiLeaks. The latest revelations show how the US sought to influence Australia in trying to water-down the restrictions on the use of cluster-bombs have just been made public.
"Australia worked with the United States to weaken a key international treaty to ban cluster bombs, leaked US diplomatic cables show.
Despite taking a high-profile stance against cluster munitions - condemned as the cause of large numbers of civilian casualties - Australia was privately prepared to pull out of international negotiations on a global ban of the weapons if this threatened ties with US forces.
The US continues to use cluster munitions as ''a legitimate and useful weapon'', including in Afghanistan, and has affirmed that it will not sign the treaty to ban them. The disclosure comes as Federal Parliament prepares to consider a bill to ratify Australia's signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The draft legislation has attracted sharp criticism from non-government organisations for not matching the spirit of the treaty. One US group complained the legislation could be interpreted to ''allow Australian military personnel to load and aim the gun, so long as they did not pull the trigger''.
Diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Canberra - leaked to WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald - reveal Kevin Rudd's newly elected government in 2007 immediately told the US it was prepared to withdraw from the negotiations if key ''red line'' issues were not addressed - especially the inclusion of a loophole to allow signatories to the convention to co-operate with military forces using cluster bombs."