GM protesters call on Redman to resign

24 Feb, 2010 08:04 AM

ABOUT 150 protesters attended a rally on the steps of Parliament House yesterday, to voice their concerns about the use of genetically modified (GM) technology in WA.

The event was organised by the GM Free Consumers Network, in conjunction with the Network of Concerned Farmers, Wilderness Society WA and Conservation Council WA.

The protesters called on State Agriculture Minister Terry Redman and the State Government, to reverse its decision to allow GM canola to be grown on a commercial scale in WA this year.

Click the image below to see all the photos from the protest.

They also called on Mr Redman to resign, or to be sacked, for allowing GM crops to be grown.

Protest speakers also urged Liberal and National Party members to cross the floor on a conscience vote and support a Labor motion to disallow the trials.

Cutting a lone figure in the vocal crowd was Morawa farmer and notorious pro-GM supporter Bill Crabtree, who staged a min-protest of his own.

Mr Crabtree held a banner saying, “Thanks Terry” with a smiley face logo on one side, and “We Need Choice”, written on the other.

Mr Redman was also subject to some angst from several protestors, resulting in him leaving the rally early.

Mr Crabtree was near the protestors and said they made Mr Redman feel uncomfortable by “getting in his face”.

Mr Redman’s speech was also cut short after the crowd became hostile, with continued booing and hissing.

“I don’t think the crowd wanted to listen to Terry, I think they just wanted to taunt him, so hats off to him for standing there,” Mr Crabtree said.

“Good on him for being courageous and taking the flak for making a hard decision.”

Mr Redman was advised by other politicians at the rally and his staff, to leave.

Parliamentary security staff then stepped in to ensure the Minister was safe and chatted with the protestors.

Later in the day, Shadow Agriculture Minister Mick Murray introduced a disallowance motion to the Legislative Assembly to ban the growth of GM canola crops.

However, Agricultural Region MLC Jim Chown said the motion was a waste of time, and stressed the Liberals and Nationals would stand firm on the GM issue.

“I don’t think it’s going to have any influence on the exemption order that stands for GM canola in WA,” he said.

“This is an initiative of the Liberal Party campaign that has been adopted by a National Party Minister for Agriculture and has been carried out with the full support of the rural community of WA.

“Three exemption orders were put through the House last year and they were all defeated on a combined Liberal and National Party basis.

“As it stands today, the exemption order will stand and growers will be allowed to put GM canola in the ground this season.”

Mr Chown applauded Mr Crabtree’s stance as a lone voice amongst the anti-GM protestors.

“Mr Bill Crabtree is a well known agronomist, agriculturalist and farmer,” he said.

“Bill stands on GM and comes from a very good knowledge base and is to the point.

“Bill came along today to show that not all farmers are against GM and in fact he represented a large body of the community out there in rural WA.

“There’s always a silent majority out there.”

One of the event’s organisers, Janette Liddelow, Williams, said the rally was a success.

“I think it was highly successful and always is when people come together,” she said.

“We all feel very strongly.

“I think the disappointing part is that there’s no response from Mr Redman.

“The mantra is repeated over and over by him, that segregation is possible, but everyone knows it’s not.

“That’s the basis of the debate but there’s really not much to debate is there.

“If he is not prepared to back down on lifting the moratorium, we are definitely asking him to resign or be sacked, and any Liberals or Nationals to vote with their conscience and cross the floor.”

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24/02/2010 2:10:35 PM, on Farm Weekly

Janette sums it up when she says "there really is not much to debate is there?" Well done Mr Redman. Its about time an agricultural representative represented food producers!
25/02/2010 10:15:17 AM, on Farm Weekly

So the guy with the "Thanks Terry" sign was for GM? It looked like he was being ironic and supporting the rally! Anyway, Dan, if you have been following the issue at all you would have been aware of the fact that domestic food producer giant Goodman Fielder chose to buy non GM canola last year as they knew that their customers would not accept GM canola. And you would also have read that WA's markets were not eagerly awaiting last year's GM canola seems instead to have gone to India??? Whatever happened to our major trade partners Japan and the EU? Could it be that they really don't want it? Janette is right. There is nothing to debate, as anyone that has spent the time investigating the truth behind the money spinning myths will know that GM is a dud, and any farmer that has fallen for the lie will be the loser in the end.
25/02/2010 10:21:27 AM, on Farm Weekly

What is it with all of the pics of the GM supporter? Was his dad doing the photography?
25/02/2010 10:40:02 AM, on Farm Weekly

Jim Chown - you're wrong. A Newspoll survey last November showed that the majority of West Australians don't want to eat GM food and believe that the GM canola ban should stay in place. The public has good reason to be sceptical of the technology. There have still been no long-term studies conducted on the health impacts of eating GM food and those studies that have been conducted in animals give ample cause for concern. For example, when Monsanto fed GM Roundup Ready canola to rats, they showed a 12-16% increase in liver weight. Other studies have shown evidence of liver and kidney toxicity in animals fed GM products. Farmers are similarly sceptical. A national Rural Press Survey conducted in October 2007 found that only 27.6% of farmers want to see GM grain crops introduced into Australia. Minister Redman went against Liberal and National Party policy in his unconsultative, unilateral lifting of the moratorium. It's time for the Libs and Nats to do the right thing by farmers and consumers and to support the disallowance motion.
25/02/2010 10:40:57 AM, on Farm Weekly

The Agriculture Minister should represent all producers, not just a few who want to destroy our clean green image by growing gm. Most farmers reject the interference of the multi national companies in their farming enterprises, and most wives are concerned about the safety of gm food, and rightly so. Mr Crabtree has many Monsanto dollars to encourage him to a positive opinion about gm.
25/02/2010 11:15:22 AM, on Farm Weekly

the commercial differece in profit between conventional and GM indicate the decision is based more on philosophy than a commercial imperative. We simply don't need GM to survive or compete, on the contrary, GM Free extracts a better market return than GM.
25/02/2010 12:16:34 PM, on Farm Weekly

Annie, it is easy for you to accuse someone of being paid off. Got any proof? If so, lets see it. As to your comment about multi-nationals, does your farm use a John Deere or a Flexicoil air seeder? Both supplied by multi-nationals. How about fuel for the tractor or fertiliser for the crop? Supplied by multi-nationals. How about the software used to run the computer to do the farm budget and go online to research markets overseas; also supplied by multi-nationals. You must resent a lot of things about how a modern farm operates.
26/02/2010 12:02:44 PM, on Farm Weekly

Damian, a farmer can choose to buy a John Deere tractor or header, and next year he might want to run a Case or even a New Holland. It won't upset the neighbours whatever they decide to use. There is no technology users agreement, and they can sell the machinery when and how it suits them. If a tractor happens to be parked in the neighbours paddock it won't cost the neighbour their market, or prove that their paddock is John Deere free. John Deere and Flexi Coil don't monopolise and compromise the grain markets. Maybe Annie does resent a lot of modern farm practises. As for Bill Crabtree getting paid off, no where can I see is that stated! Although one Biotech company has been caught paying off over 140 Government officials, bribing Health experts in Government departments, using one of their attorneys to write the policies on GM for the FDA and then allowing him to become a Vice President of their company. GM is a major flop world wide and the only reason it keeps spreading and more farmers growing it, is because it cannot be contained. GM is untested, unlabeled and failed in the segregation trials in WA. Why is the Government proceeding with this questionable technology?
26/02/2010 12:55:16 PM, on Farm Weekly

Damian, I never said Mr Crabtree was being paid off, they were your words. As far as I'm aware Mr Crabtree is not a public servant and he can earn his dollars wherever. It is the interference of the multi nationals that I was talking about. John Deere don't tell us what brand of tyre to use, what brand of fuel, and we can use non genuine parts if we so desire. If you sign up for gm, you won't have as many choices. For example, what brand of chemical you are going to use or where you can sell your grain. At least we don't have to buy our tractor every year, unlike gm seed. Will you still feel like a farmer or a labourer for a bio tech company. What I resent, is the fact if gm seeds get on our farm, we will probably end up in court through no fault of ours. And I also resent the fact that these crops have never been independently tested for safety as a food. I also resent that they are not labeled so we can have a choice.
26/02/2010 4:25:58 PM, on Farm Weekly

Josh, go back and read Annie's last sentence. It is very clearly an accusation - such claims roll off the lips of anti-GM activists very easily but we never see any proof. Take note, an on-line defamation case was settled in the Supreme Court of WA this week with the guilty party having to pony up $30K for making a false claim. 143 million hectares of transgenic crops were grown last year Josh, and nearly half of it was in developing countries. Many of those countries are investing in their own biotech programs because they have large domestic populations to feed. When was the last time you went to bed hungry? I know some of the farmers who ran trials in NSW in previous years and are now expanding their GM canola programs - the same here in WA. These guys run multi-million dollar businesses and are very good at adopting new on-farm technology. Do you really think that they can't make up their own minds about whether the technology is any good for their cropping rotation?
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