KEVIN Rudd promised stronger laws on GM foods and crops before the last election, but the ALP's proposed platform would now break Rudd's promises and dilute existing ALP policy, according to lobby group Gene Ethics.
"This betrayal will fast track GM into our crops and foods without the checks and balances that Rudd promised," Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps said in a statement, timed to coincide with the national ALP conference.
"We want the ALP to adopt as part of its platform, the promises that Rudd made on November 6 2007," he says.
Then Kevin Rudd promised that, if elected, his government would:
• Ensure GM crops are not released unless there is whole of community consensus.
• Establish a meaningful labeling regime that enables consumers to make informed choices about what they are buying.
• Ensure accurate information on GM products is provided to consumers and the community.
• Maintain consumer and environmental safety through strict enforcement of national standards as the principal policy consideration.
• Undertake continued research on the use of foods containing GMs, to better understand health, safety and environmental risks and benefits.
• Introduce a rigorous and transparent process based on environmental and safety considerations, for assessing and approving or rejecting research proposals which require release of GMOs outside the laboratory.
• Preserve the right of the states to implement and manage moratoria on the commercial production of GM crops.
• To ensure our food is safe and of high quality.
• Ensure all issues pertaining to import, export, production, distribution and use of GMs are overseen by a strong national body that is independent, scientifically-based and whose processes are transparent.
"The ALP should adopt these promises as policy, and reject the proposed new national platform that would gut existing ALP policy," Mr Phelps says.
"Rudd implements Howard's policies and will not deliver on his own promises.
"For instance, government has allocated $38.2 million to develop and promote biotechnology and nanotechnology. This is public money for private profits, spent on technologies that falsely claim solve new problems like global climate change, the end of oil and food security.
"The products of GM and nanotechnologies will worsen, not resolve, new crises," he says.
"We call on the ALP conference to reject proposals 95, 96, 97 and 98, and incorporate Rudd's promises into the platform instead," Mr Phelps says.
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