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Squabbles over end of GM moratorium

By Kerces 16 May 2006 32

In July 2004 the Legislative Assembly passed legislation giving the Health Minister powers to place a moratorium order on genetically-modified commercial crops. Shortly afterwards two such orders were made, banning crops of canola resistant to glufosinate salt herbicides and Roundup Ready canola, which is resistant to gluphosate. The moratorium does not affect any research conducted in the Territory.

These moratorium orders will expire in a month’s time and the Greens want them extended.

In an address to biotechnology industry body AusBiotech‘s annual dinner in March, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope appeared to indicate he would not extend the legislation, regardless of the fact all other states have extended their moratoriums until 2008. (The Canberra Times reported his speech, and the fact it was supported by then Liberal leader Brendan Smyth)

Vicki Dunne told me that in her opinon the ban should never have been put in place in its current form. At the time the legislation was passed, she was the Liberal spokeswoman on agricultural issues and so had to study up on the matter. She said she thinks there is a lot of confusion, fear and pseudo-science surroundign the issue of genetic modification and this is just one area in which it shows. She also said she does not think ending the ban would have an adverse effect on the Canberra region. “I don’t think we’d see a huge influx of genetically modified crops in the ACT simply because of the whole nature of the rural industry,” she said.

Greens MLA Deb Foskey conceeded that ending the ban would not see GM crops spring up overnight, but said she thought it would be set a political precedent. “Even though the ACT is not a big grower of commercial GM crops, if it steps out of line it just makes it easier for the other premiers to do that.” She also said that if GM crops were grown in the ACT, they would jeopardise the integrity of nearby NSW farmers’ crops because it is nearly impossible to stop the spread of seed via wind and birds and so on.

Dr Foskey also touched on some of the moral and ethical problems with genetic modifications. “Often we find that it’s the very large seed producing, pesticide and fertiliser producing companies that are the biggest advocates for genetic modification,” she said. “That means that genetic modification is being steered a certain way. It’s not about what’s good for people; it’s about what, for instance, will sell other of their products.”

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32 Responses to
Squabbles over end of GM moratorium
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Thumper 9:30 am 18 May 06

Once the horse has bolted it’s always going to be too late to shut the stable door.

Proceed carefully with this I would suggest.

Slinky the Shocker 9:21 pm 17 May 06

Having spent a bit of time working in the US, the domestic marked is actually pretty organically driven. You can shop fully organic in basically every supermarket for only 20 pct higher price.
They just export the shit, and that is both the technology and the actual crops.

seepi 8:51 pm 17 May 06

We live in a democracy, so if half the people do’nt want this, we should be listened to. I don’t want to eat GM food. And I don’t think we should go into it in a rush, because once the plants are out there creating their own seed the process is not reversible. As an island, Australia should be investing in the huge growth market of organic produce, not rushing to copy everyone else with GM stuff.

Slinky the Shocker 7:40 pm 17 May 06

NTP: We should suggest it to the Wig and Pen. Considering that they sold the ‘Wobbly Boot’ beer.

Big Al: That’s good for you…I also have an NRM degree with 10 years experience in both science and policy. And as pointed out above, I can see no difference between the ALF/whacko left and pro-GM spinsters like you, whose only argument is: “We are on the other hand, not idiots.” Well done, policy maker!

Big Al 6:12 pm 17 May 06

Slinky I’m guessing that you already know which part of the diagram I described you must be most comfortable in.

In response to your other questions – yes, along with a fair whack of experience at the policy end, hence my strong views. The science is sound, the outcomes are good (by and large) and the bad ones can be managed. The politics of green marxism on the otherhand will continue to remain flawed.

Nik_the_Pig 3:57 pm 17 May 06

Actually brussel sprout beer is realy good, you’d be surprised.

Slinky the Shocker 2:02 pm 17 May 06

Or as an alternative eat beef that is beef, beans that are beans and drink beer that is not made with brussel sprout genes. EASY!

Chris S 1:55 pm 17 May 06

The people who may have opposed bringing rabbits, foxes, cane toads and the like into this country were also probably called Luddites or NIMBYs (or whatever the fashionable term was then). The thing is, once this genie is out of the bottle, like so many others, it can’t go back.

The Precautionary Principle should be at work when considering something like GMOs.

Ralph 1:27 pm 17 May 06


Slinky the Shocker 12:50 pm 17 May 06

Yeah, labeling would be good. But as I said, it has to be done properly in all situations. So on a restaurant menu, they would have to have a disclaimer: “Laksa contains GM coconut milk (strawberry genes), GM rice noodles (brazil nut gene), GM bok choy (fish bladder gene)”.
Also, public opinion will have to be informed by real information, not WWF or Monsanto propaganda.
Ecological side effects of the increased herbicide use will have to be assessed and cost carried by the GM farmer.

Chris S 12:44 pm 17 May 06

Bonfire, that’s good in theory, and in most markets there wouldn’t be an issue. The problem is that GM crops invade non-GM, and therefore no-one can be certain exactly what’s in there.

Consequently, a lot of produce would have to be labelled “MAY contain traces of GM content” or similar, and no-one would know for sure if it did, how much, and exactly what the contamination is.

Hence, let’s keep it out entirely, and remove all doubt and all problems. Simple.

Mr Evil 12:26 pm 17 May 06

Can they make a turnip that looks like a thingy?

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