ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  5 November 2000

AUSTRALIA - Committee recommends councils gain GM crop autonomy/GMO laws could prompt eco-terrorism.
Yo - a hint of democratic affirmation in Oz!  But Ricky Roush, an aussie entomologist & GM zealot, who haunts many of the GE discussion lists, favours secrecy.


1.    Committee recommends councils gain GM crop autonomy
2.    GMO laws could prompt eco-terrorism - Roush

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1.    Committee recommends councils gain GM crop autonomy - ABC news

Councils would be able to keep themselves free of genetically modified crops, under a recommendation from a Senate committee investigating the Federal Government's Gene Technology Bill.

The committee tabled its report in Parliament yesterday, recommending information on all genetically modified crops be made public and that stronger measures be put in place to prevent eco-terrorism.

Committee chair Senator Rosemary Crowley says local government would be able to apply to the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator to prevent GM crops from being grown within its boundaries.

"We hadn't heard of, for example, a State Government applying for the whole state to be a GM-free zone, but it was put to us that local government areas or shire councils might well want to do that," she said.


The Australian Greens say the Senate Inquiry report into genetic engineering does not go far enough.

Greens Senator Bob Brown says the recommendations do not match the degree of uncertainty that surrounds genetically modified organisms and their release into the environment.

Senator Brown says on the crucial issue of opt-out powers for states, the report falls short of recommending powers of veto for state and local governments.

"It does tend to favour states having an opt-out clause," Senator Brown said. "But it does this through the office of the gene technology or the gene regulator and it ought to have a clause in there which quite explicitly says that states and local government authorities have the right to opt-out of gene technologies."

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2.    GMO laws could prompt eco-terrorism - 3 November 2000

The following is a transcript from the ABC National Rural News that is broadcast daily to all states on ABC Regional Radio's Country Hour and on ABC Radio National.

A member of the body which authorises trials of genetically modified crops claims Senate committee recommendations on the issue could lead to an increase in eco-terrorism.

In its findings released yesterday, the committee called on the Federal Government to take a tougher stance on companies that breach gene technology laws.

Associate professor Rick Roush of the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee describes the report as positive, but says it has some flaws - in particular, the recommendation for full disclosure of GM crop sites, and stronger penalties for people who damage them.

He doesn't believe this would deter eco-terrorists.  Rick Roush: 'T hroughout the world there have been many cases of eco-terrorism so far and with the exception of cases where people from Greenpeace or wherever were actually standing in the fields waiting for the TV cameras
to turn up, nobody's ever been caught. So it's something of a hollow promise to say that we'll increase the penalties to deter eco-terrorism, because when people make nighttime raids on rural fields, who's going to catch them?"

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