The Guardian December 6, 2000


GMO Bill fails health and environment

"The public interest has been sold out to the big corporations pushing 
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)", said Greens Senator Bob Brown. 
Senator Brown condemned the ALP for caving into the Federal Government on 
the Gene Technology Bill 2000 being debated in the Senate on December 
1.

Senator Brown said that the ALP had colluded with the Government to pass 
the Bill without a range of significant amendments that the ALP had 
previously supported.

The key points in the ALP-Government deal are:

* GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) field trials to remain  secret;
* general release of GMOs will not be made public;
* the public and interest groups will not be able to appeal against (third 
party appeal rights) decisions of the gene technology regulator;
* the precautionary principle has been gutted ignoring health and putting 
commercial considerations above the environment;
* those releasing GMOs into the environment are not required to be insured 
against any damage to the environment, public health or farmers, that they 
may cause;
* local government cannot declare itself GE-free.

"The big GE multinational corporations like Monsanto will be grinning but 
Australian consumers and farmers are the losers", said Senator Brown.

The Bill as it stands may severely damage not only the "clean and green" 
image the Australian agricultural industry is trying to promote but also 
severely undermine the expanding organic farming.

It will be impossible in the future for organic and/or GE free farmers to 
keep their produce uncontaminated by GMOs because they won't know when and 
where GMOs have been released.

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