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Wednesday, 25 February 1987
Page: 587


Senator WALSH (Minister for Finance)(12.17) —I will reply briefly. There are conceivably quite valid reasons why it might take more than two years to breed up a new variety in sufficient quantity for bulk release. For example, something that is grown under natural rainfall conditions could be planted out for one season in a drought, so there could be negligible bulking up, and indeed there might even be a decline in the total seed population. So the Government will not be accepting the amendments.

I find it hard to understand the total argument being put by the Australian Democrats. On the one hand we have the first conspiracy theory; that is, that the wicked multinationals will peddle new plant variety rights protected varieties and use their propaganda and other power to ensure that only one variety, which only they supply and which needs poisonous chemicals at various stages of its growth to mature, comes on to the market. The second conspiracy theory is that they will lock up this variety and keep it forever, for reasons which are not at all apparent to me. I just note that the two conspiracy theories, leaving aside their innate absurdity, are mutually exclusive.