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Monday, 18 November 2002
Page: 6628

Senator O'BRIEN (5:42 PM) —I want to briefly respond, particularly in relation to Democrat amendment (15) and the comments of Senator Cherry. I remind the Senate that we are talking about a removal of fees for certain types of applications. Those based on a risk of a threat to the environment could be dealt with in a number of ways, particularly through various state environment departments—and the Commonwealth, for that matter—which would affect the limitations or prohibitions which might be placed on the propagation of a plant if it were a danger to the environment, rather than using the intellectually property regime of this act as a means of addressing it.

The term `social' is extremely broad. One can imagine that that could very well be the sort of claim that might fall into the vexatious area, and to exempt that from a cost recovery basis would be to throw open this regime to all and sundry to attempt to frustrate the regime for reasons that may not be clear to the Senate now.

In terms of claims based on a cultural basis, firstly, if it is to do with whether a plant is a landrace variety rather than a developed variety, we have already addressed that point. If it is because the plant has been developed from a landrace variety to become a variety eligible for treatment, this legislation would not differentiate it from others. But, as I have indicated, that issue ought properly be addressed in another form and not in this legislation. We do not believe that the basis of cost recovery for objections ought be removed from this legislation for applications for revocation of a plant breeders right at this stage, on the material that is before us. We think that the solutions to the problems sought to be addressed by the Democrat amendments generally in this area would be more appropriately dealt with by other legislation or in other ways. We will not be supporting the amendment.