Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their products, and the chemicals used to manage them, may pose unacceptable threats to ecosystems.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their products, and the chemicals used to manage them may pose significant risks to natural and agricultural ecosystems, and human health.
  2. Scientific evidence produced independently from the developers and proponents of the GMO must be undertaken and form the basis for assessing and licensing of GMOs. GMO assessments must be broad, independent and scientifically robust.
  3. The precautionary principle must be applied to the production and use of GMOs.
  4. Living organisms such as plants, animals and micro-organisms are not inventions. Patents on life are unethical and against the public interest.
  5. The Australian government must prohibit the use of 'terminator' technologies (Gene Use Restriction) that prevent seeds from germinating when planted.
  6. Farmers and consumers have a right to grow and consume non-GMO foods.
  7. Everyone has a right to know if foods contain any ingredients made using GM techniques, through the comprehensive labelling of those products.
  8. The existing corporate concentration of ownership for GMO seed stock and intellectual property rights is not in the public interest.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A moratorium on the further release of GMOs into the environment until there is an adequate scientific understanding of their long term impact on the environment, human and animal health. This includes the removal as far as possible of all GMOs from the Australian environment and food supply while the moratorium is in place.
  2. A rigorous assessment of the health and ecological risks associated with already released GMOs.
  3. Mandatory clear and obvious labelling of all foods containing any ingredient, additive, processing aid or other constituent produced using GMOs.
  4. A ban on patenting all living organisms, including plants, animals and micro-organisms, and naturally occurring DNA code sequence information.
  5. A rigorous peer-reviewed approach to assessing and licensing of GMOs which sets objective benchmarks, standards and quality assurance systems in advance of the use and release of GMOs.
  6. A strengthened, transparent, precautionary regulatory and monitoring system which prevents GMO contamination.
  7. Assessment and research processes that ensures GMOs are safe for the environment, and that derived foods are safe for consumption.
  8. Fulfilment by Australia of its responsibilities under the Convention on Biological Diversity. This includes signing and ratifying the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol on the safe international transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms.
  9. Certification of all imported seed, food and other products as GM or GM-free through stringent independent testing.
  10. Balanced, accurate, complete and high quality information to be made available to the public, on the environmental, economic and social aspects of the genetic manipulation of living organisms.
  11. Publicly funded agricultural research grant schemes, extension programs and incentive systems should prioritise sustainable production methods to meet our productivity and environmental challenges rather than genetic modification technologies.
  12. Legal liability for adverse effects arising from planting, harvesting, distribution, sale and consumption of GMOs to lie with GMO manufacturers, licence holders and large agricultural companies using GMOs.

Policy endorsed: May 2018