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Wednesday, 18 February 1987
Page: 135

We the undersigned deplore the intent and substance of the Plant Variety Rights Bill currently before the Australian Parliament, and already passed by the House of Representatives. Approval of this Bill is unworthy of a Labor Government, especially since widespread public opposition to its support deterred the Liberals from bringing it through Parliament in 1982. Now that a Labor Government has secreted it back to the Federal Parliament's agenda, and without appropriate airing of public opinion, the integrity of the present government will become questionable yet again.

The Plant Variety Rights Bill is worded so technically that even the best informed parliamentarians will be left unaware of its hidden potentiality to sell out Australia's most basic resources to multinational corporations. Experience of the results of similar legislation overseas, in both north American and European nations comparable to our own, shows that national seed banks are very seriously neglected and depleted once the potency rights to seeds have been legalised.

Australia has one of the most precious seed heritages in the world and this Bill endangers it by granting far too much power over genetic resources to private and multi-national companies. We ask the Opposition to resist this legislation.