Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 2943 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Provided that there is a notice there, people know what is going on. Credit to Mr Connolly because he has not even demanded that the notice be on the container itself. To do that in the Australian Capital Territory would be difficult. The Bill states that, to avoid the fine, you have only to inform people, basically, if you like, at the supermarket shelf, "The products under here have been irradiated or have been subjected to genetic engineering", or whatever. It is a small step in informing consumers. Consumers can make that choice.
It taps into widespread concern in the community that everything we are being told by scientific authorities about genetic engineering and irradiation might not be true. Some of us might decide that we do not want to provide irradiated food for our children just yet; let us leave it for 10 or 12 years and let us make a decision then whether or not we think that it is safe.
Mr Humphries: You cannot buy it.
MR MOORE: That may be the choice that people want to make. Mr Humphries says, "Why?".
Mr Humphries: No; I said that you cannot buy it. What is the point if you cannot buy any irradiated food? It is banned. There is no irradiated food in Australia.
MR MOORE: Mr Humphries interjects that you cannot buy irradiated food. I would challenge that. I know that it is in train, but I do not know that that is true. I do not accept that. A similar situation applies if we talk about food that is a result of genetic engineering. You certainly can buy that. Mr Connolly has raised these issues quite appropriately.
In a sense, there is some doubletalk there. There is no doubt that the then Chief Minister, Rosemary Follett, signed an agreement that said:
No State shall, by legislation or other means, establish or amend a food standard other than in accordance with this agreement.
That does not affect me at all, I must say. It is a matter that I was never asked about in the first place. I was not asked whether or not I would agree to that. I do not feel bound to it. I draw that way of thinking to Ministers' attention when they go away to sign things. If you want something that is signed supported, you ought to seek agreement first. There is, in a sense, doubletalk in that it was the Federal Labor people who signed that in 1991. One of three things has happened. They have changed their minds, they have got it wrong or there is a difference of opinion between Rosemary Follett, who signed it, and Terry Connolly. I do not care. I am looking at this piece of legislation, which is an effective piece of legislation that provides for a form of notice as a first step. I would hope that it leads in the not too distant future to labelling on the containers themselves. But clearly that would have to be an Australia-wide approach.