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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2528

Senator COULTER (9.20 p.m.) —I move:

Clause 64, page 37, paragraph (1)(d), omit "consumers, and likely consumers, of", substitute "the public in relation to".

That amendment refers to a different group of people who should be represented on the advisory committee. Clause 64 (1)(d) reads:

one member who, in the opinion of the Minister, is an appropriate person to represent the interest of consumers, and likely consumers, of new plant varieties or of the products of new plant varieties.

We believe that there is a wider public interest involved. This goes back to many of the arguments we have put about this whole legislation; that we believe there are very significant broad issues involved which are not just of a commercial nature. Therefore, we are seeking to broaden this legislation away from just consumers in the narrow commercial sense of being consumers, to include that broader public interest on the advisory committee.

  The amendment seeks to omit `consumers, and likely consumers, of' and put in `the public in relation to' so that the paragraph would then read `to represent the interests of the public' in relation to new plant varieties and so on. It is an attempt to get a broader public input into this advisory committee, and not simply leave it as a purely commercial thing.

  Although my colleagues in the two main parties in this place do not agree with the ethical and moral position that the Democrats have taken, nonetheless I hope they would accept the fact that we have taken this position because there is a large body of evidence which supports our position. Admittedly it is a minority position; nonetheless, it is a viewpoint which should be properly represented on this advisory committee. That is what we are attempting to do by way of this amendment.