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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2520

Senator COULTER (8.26 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

5.Clause 11, page 6, at the end of each of paragraphs (a), (b), (e) and (f) add the words "for sale".

7.Clause 15, page 7, omit the clause.

Amendment No. 5 is to clause 11 on page 6. This is a somewhat difficult clause to fully comprehend, and the amendment also requires some explanation. What we are seeking to do is, under the actions which this legislation allows, add to most of the paragraphs—paragraphs (a), (b), (e) and (f)—the words `for sale'.

  I hope I can make this clear. In reading the clause as it stands, the clause is very restrictive in the permission which it gives. For instance, it implies that permission would be required to produce or reproduce any material at all, whereas again it seems to me quite clear from the context of the rest of the legislation that what this legislation is seeking to do is restrict the sale or the commercial exploitation of these protected varieties by persons other than the person who actually holds the plant breeder's right. Therefore, we are seeking to add the words `for sale'. To put that in context, the amended clause would read that, subject to the various sections:

. . . PBR in a plant variety is the exclusive right, subject to this Act, to do, or to licence another person to do, the following acts in relation to propagating material of the variety:

  (a) produce or reproduce the material for sale;

In other words, people would still be free to produce and reproduce. Senator Sherry said a moment ago that that was the case, but the addition of the words `for sale' would mean that that was the action which was specifically excluded. It seems, again in the context of this legislation, that that is the purpose. We believe that the addition of the two words `for sale' to those sections make it far clearer what it is that we are actually restricting.

  I do not think there is any intention in this legislation, as I understand it, to restrict the propagation of the material, say, by an amateur grower. But, as the legislation reads, it could be used for that purpose. I strongly urge the committee to accept those two amendments. Clause 15 on page 7 is a dependant clause, and the two are clearly linked together.  Mr Temporary Chairman, with your permission I would like to deal with amendment 12, which should have been included in this debate at the same time. Amendment 12 is to clause 19 on page 9.

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Teague)—It was my intention to move amendment 12 as the next and separate amendment. Is it your wish that amendment 12 be dealt with along with amendments 5 and 7?

Senator COULTER —I think they can be taken together. That might speed things up.

Senator Sherry —We intend to agree with amendment No. 12. We are opposing the two that are currently before us.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I think we will consider only amendment Nos 5 to 7, but you can speak to 5, 7 and 12 together, if you wish, Senator Coulter.

Senator COULTER —I simply make the point that in my view clause 19 picks up exactly the same point. It adds on to paragraph (3)(b) the words `for sale'. It would then read, `to produce propagating material of plants of that variety for sale'. I am a little puzzled; perhaps Senator Sherry will explain why, if the government is prepared to accept the amendment there, it is not prepared to accept the amendment to clause 11. It seems to me that that is even more restrictive in that clause than in clause 19. I suppose one should be thankful for small mercies. If he is going to accept that one, we will take them separately, but I would certainly like to hear his argument as to why he is accepting one and not the others.