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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2515


Senator HARRADINE (7.48 p.m.) —I would like to ask the minister about clause 6, `Genetic modification'. Where in the act, and where in this legislation before us now, does it provide that a gene of the human species cannot be included in the protection which is provided under the plant breeders' rights legislation?  I raise this question because very specifically this parliament, pursuant to an amendment of mine, made it perfectly clear that human genetic material could not be patented. In effect, material under this legislation has a similar effect as if it were patented. In other words, it is owned by a particular organisation or company that is utilising the material for the purposes of embellishing or improving various plant varieties.

  It has been suggested that clause 6 is open ended, in that human genetic material could be used for transgenic purposes in the development of plants. I would like the parliamentary secretary to tell the committee where there is prevention of that type of human genetic material being owned by corporations involved in the ownership of plant breeders' rights.