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Notice given 21 October 1999

370  Leader of the Australian Democrats (Senator Stott Despoja): To move—

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on the Regulation and Promotion of Biotechnology, be established to inquire into and report by 1 April 2000 on the following matter:

A critical comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of biotechnology regulatory regimes in Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada and New Zealand, with particular reference to:

(a) the implementation of labelling of genetically-modified food products;

(b) the suitability and adequacy of testing of biotechnology products;

(c) the scientific and community risk assessment of biotechnology;

(d) the meaning and validity of ‘evidence-based assessments’ and the assessment of the quality of evidence;

(e) the place of personal preference, culture and free choice to accept or reject biotechnology;

(f) segregation procedures for genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) or living modified organisms (LMOs);

(g) the definition of ‘GMO-free’;

(h) the environmental consequences of GMO release;

(i) domestic policies for promoting research and development in biotechnology which may be promoted or restricted by regulation;

(j) the effects of trade initiatives, transfer pricing and tariffs for biotechnology and its products;

(k) the measurement of consumer demand for current commercial agricultural biotechnology products;

(l) the effects of the concentration of ownership of biotechnology;

(m) the accountability of technology;

(n) the effectiveness of intellectual property rights to ensure adequate recognition of indigenous knowledge of biological species and the recognition of indigenous heritage and natural resources in domestic law;

(o) the positive and negative economic, environmental and health effects of a GMO- or LMO-free Australian landmass; and

(p) the possible health effects of GMOs or LMOs on immuno-compromised people.

(2) That the committee consist of 7 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and 1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats, minor groups or independents in the Senate.

(3) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(4) That the chair of the committee be elected by and from the members of the committee.

(5) That the deputy chair of the committee be elected by and from the members of the committee immediately after the election of the chair.

(6) That the deputy chair act as chair when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting.

(7) That, in the event of the votes on any question before the committee being equally divided, the chair, or deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(8) That the quorum of the committee be 5 members.

(9) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(10) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(11) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.

(12) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.