Genetic Modification

The precautionary principle* must be applied to the production and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Transgenic and animal genetic engineering pose significant risks to natural and agricultural ecosystems, and human health.

Genes and gene sequences from plants, animals and micro-organisms are not inventions and should not be patented, as this is unethical and against the public interest.

Farmers have the right to grow non-GMO foods and should be able to operate their farms free from the risk of contamination from GMO crops, seeds or related processes. Everyone has the right to consume non-GMO foods as well as the right to know if foods contain any ingredients grown using GM techniques, through the comprehensive labelling of those products.

Aims

The Greens (WA) want:

  • the principle of 'unsafe until proven otherwise' to be applied to the release of genetically altered organisms into the environment
  • independent research carried out under appropriate conditions of safety for those involved and for the public and biosphere at large
  • no adverse impact on non-GE producers or consumers
  • no approval of the patenting of life forms

Measures

The Greens (WA) will encourage and support legislation and actions that:

  • reinstate Western Australia’s 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
  • promote agricultural alternatives to the use of herbicide resistant plants created by genetic modification (see also The Greens (WA) Agriculture policy)
  • ensure continued mandatory notification, assessment, licensing and monitoring of all genetic engineering proposals, including rigorous environmental impact assessment by an independent scientific panel
  • oppose monopolisation of seed sources or animal breeding stocks by corporations
  • ensure that governments maintain germplasm resources of plants and animals, and that all accessions are available to researchers and plant and animal breeders
  • ensure protections against adverse impacts of genetic engineering continue to be properly monitored and any breaches prosecuted with appropriate and effective penalties
  • support the principle of non-patentability of gene nucleotide sequences, coding or non-coding, from the genomes of all organisms including the human organism
  • ensure that all foods or any other products are clearly labelled to indicate any GM content (see also The Greens (WA) Food policy)

Glossary

* Precautionary principle - where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

(See also the Australian Greens Genetically Manipulated Organisms policy)

Genetic Modification policy ratified by The Greens (WA) in 2020

The Greens (WA) spokesperson on genetic modification is Diane Evers MLC