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Wednesday, 13 May 1981
Page: 2288

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. We, the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth, do humbly pray that the Commonwealth Government:

1. Note that legislation establishing plant breeders' rights in other countries has had serious adverse effects, namely:

(a) virtual monopoly control of seed production has passed into the hands of a few large international corporations seeking to profit from the exclusive rights over plant genetic materials created by such legislation;

(b) the varieties of seeds available have been restricted mainly to hybrids which will not reproduce truly and will not grow without the aid of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, thus maximising corporate profits without regard for the interests of growers and consumers;

(c) the genetic diversity of crops has been eroded, rendering them vulnerable to disease and other environmental threats.

2. Recognise that maintenance of the genetic diversity of plant varieties is crucial to the continued well-being of the Australian nation, and take all necessary steps to preserve and promote such genetic diversity as a public resource and to prevent exclusive control over plant genetic materials from falling into private hands.

3. Defend the vital interests of Australian farmers and gardeners, independent Australian seed companies and their employees, and consumers of Australian farm and garden produce, by rejecting any proposal to legislate for the establishment of plant breeders' rights in Australia.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

by .