Political slanging match over GM in shires

15 May, 2009 02:00 AM
Opposition agriculture spokesman Mick Murray.
Opposition agriculture spokesman Mick Murray.

SHADOW agriculture spokesman Mick Murray has been accused of making loose use of the truth when publicising the positions of local shires about the genetically modified (GM) canola trials in WA this season.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Terry Redman issued a media statement saying the Labor Party had proved itself to be dishonest or incompetent in its "latest commentary" on GM crops.

The attack came after Mr Murray's statement earlier in the week that claimed the shires of Manjimup, Plantagenet, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes and Denmark had all made formal declarations against the growing of GM crops.

Mr Redman said this statement was blatantly untrue.

"Either Mr Murray has failed to do his research or he is happy to deliberately mislead the WA public," he said.

The Shire of Plantagenet changed its stance on GM's at a meeting on April 29.

It supported a motion declaring its concerns about GM canola trials had been satisfactorily addressed.

WA will host 20 large-scale trials of GM canola; 17 on farms and three at Agriculture Department research sites.

A spokesperson for Mr Murray said the information they had at the time was based on advice given on April 3 from the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) and the shires' websites, and proved to be "slightly inaccurate" regarding Plantagenet's position on the GM trials.

He said Greens MLC Paul Llewellyn had incorrectly said on his website that the Manjimup motion was carried in February 2009.

"Mr Murray must be getting his information from this source because he's too lazy to do his own research," Mr Redman said.

Mr Murray said he had not personally responded to Mr Redman's claims of mistruths and was surprised to hear about the Shire of Plantagenet's position.

"Can you tell them to update their website," he said.

"We went off the best of what we knew at the time."

Mr Murray said the information about Plantagenet came from information in a letter his office received from WALGA.

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Bob Phelps
16/05/2009 4:01:13 PM

Please see: http://paul-llewellyn.net/GM-cano la-free-shires for the best estimate of which WA cities and shires have GM-free policies. If you want advice about encouraging your own local council to adopt GM-free policies, please call 1300 133 868 (local call fee) or email: info@geneethics.org to receive a petition, briefing and GM-free council kit by email or post. Several councils in NSW and Victoria also have GM-free policies which they are implementing. State governments can, and should, respect the wishes of local communities to stay GM-free, by using their powers to declare those shires and cities GM-free - it is cost free and practical. Tasmania has banned GM crops until 2014 and SA has a two year ban.
16/05/2009 6:41:35 PM

NO wonder Terry Redman is quick to jump on any faux pas by Mick Murray. He is now facing a rejection of his GM policy by his own electorate. So far four out of the eight shires have chosen to be GM free, and one other is due to vote on the issue soon. Why should we be surprised? The Nationals went to the electorate declaring a platform of no GM food crops, only to find that once they'd served their purpose and got Redman into power, all promises were broken. He has reneged on his honouring GM free shires to be exempt of GM trials. Albany is proof that the man cannot keep his word. After it had declared itself GM free but is still having to hold trials as Redman is determined to let nothing block his plans.
17/05/2009 7:31:37 AM

Australian Democracy in action! It seems that WA, like Victoria, is determined to bow before the power of Monsanto. We too had Shires who declared they wanted to be GM free but the State Government ignored the people and went ahead allowing "trials" regardless of the wishes of the people. Seduction of our political masters by corporate organisations is nothing new, but the history of farmers being ruined by their activities should make us wary. No legislation to protect farmers against pollution by GM growers, which was found necessary in California. The vast majority of Australian farmers don't want GM crops, the people of Australia don't want GM crops, most of Europe doesn't want them! You have to ask why some ill-informed politicians do want them and the conclusion you must come to is obvious.
Merri Bee
17/05/2009 7:54:14 AM

Redman’s having a backhanded go at the 19 shires who reflected their communities wishes by boldly declaring themselves GM free, by praising Nannup for not having made a decision yet. Nannup is dragging its feet when clearly the Nannup people are screaming for its council to declare itself a shire that rejects GM and puts the care of people and nature ahead of the wishes of corporations and their mouthpiece in government.
Vicki Wilson
17/05/2009 10:17:33 AM

Terry Redman is making a mountain of a molehill when one shire has not updated their website on their stance on GM. What about the rest of the shires that want to stay GM free? He has not recognised that at all. What about the thousands of other farmers that want to stay GM free. Democracy? What democracy?


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