Speculation stifles debate

A tirade of verbal tosh was dumped on the organic sector on the strength of a WA court decision ...

IN democratic, multicultural societies, the pluralist criteria deems that co-existence is a priority: everyone has the right to self-determination.

While respecting the ideas of others, people can make decisions based on sound business principles that suit their outlooks and lifestyles.

Last week, however, a tirade of verbal - and less than principled - tosh was dumped on the organic sector on the strength of a WA court decision.

Judge Kenneth Martin found, in the case of Marsh v Baxter, that: "There was no evidence at the trial of any generic transference risks posed by the Roundup Ready canola swathes blown into Eagle Rest (the Marsh property) at the end of 2010."

In handing down his Supreme Court decision, he pointed out that GM canola only posed a risk of transferring genetic material if it germinated in soil and cross-fertilised with a compatible species, such as conventional canola.

But as Andrew Goode, from Adelaide's Mellor Olsson Lawyers pointed out, the decision may be only the "first chapter" in a battle that could end up in the High Court.

But this has not stopped WA Liberal MLC Jim Chown stating categorically that the decision "clears any legal issues with regards to future growing of GM crops".

And like wild dogs baying for blood, the attacks on SA Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell - who unashamedly supports the state's moratorium on GM technology - went into overdrive.

SA Liberal Senator Sean Edwards hoed-in with some assumptions about the 'withdrawal' of multi-million dollar research trials.

Torrents of speculative derision followed, with little consideration for the facts.

National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia Certified Organic - the certifying body for organic farmers - is looking carefully at the decision.

However, it has indicated that it will not review the zero tolerance clause, which led to Mr Marshs' property being de-certified.

Notwithstanding the outcome of the case or any future litigation, the organic sector - like the wider broadacre community - has a valuable contribution to make to Australian agriculture.

The divisions between them need to be worked through in an atmosphere of mutual respect, without an inflammatory, self-effacing political diatribe.


Peter Brady

is the editor-in-chief of Stock Journal
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Rob 57
15/06/2014 1:37:03 PM

The organic lobby is holding back progress in developing new technologies to help feed the world. We need to move forward, I find the organic ideology flawed and frustrating.
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