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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2516

Senator HARRADINE (7.55 p.m.) —That is not an explanation that really grips me greatly; nor does it allay my concerns. For the parliamentary secretary to say that the Gemac operation is going to be incorporated into legislation next year really does not answer the matter that was raised by Senator Coulter and me with respect to clause 6 of this bill.

  Senator Sherry said that it is possible for human genetic material to be utilised for the purpose of genetic modifications of plants. I think human genetic material has been utilised for various purposes, including growth purposes in animals. That is another problem which needs to be addressed. We are talking about patents here and essentially what are plant breeders' rights, the ownership of the result of the genetic modification.

  Groups and companies will own the material. As far as I am concerned—and I believe as far as the whole of the Senate is concerned—that is out. The whole of the parliament said that it was out when there was an amendment made to the Patents Act. Members said they would not have a bar of human genetic material being subject to patent and ownership in this area.

  Let us get it very clear. I believe this bill is not urgent. I thought we were adjourning fairly soon. I had hoped there would be some sort of amendment to clause 6 which would put beyond doubt the issue which I am raising, and which would allay our concerns and uphold the principles adopted by the whole of the parliament on the Patents Act.