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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3155 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

from the Council of the Australian Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages and, indeed, the Australian Conference of Registrars of Title of a year ago or more. I thank members for their contribution to the debate and their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Gene Technology Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 21 February 2002, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (11.28): Mr Speaker, this bill is designed to allow the ACT to meet its commitments under the intergovernmental agreement on gene technology to which the ACT is a party. The relevant Commonwealth act is the Gene Technology Act 2000, and until the ACT passes its own legislation, which I assume will happen sometime this week, the Commonwealth act will apply.

The Gene Technology Bill 2002 is also a wonderful opportunity, I think, for the ACT to:

(1) assert itself; and

(2) prove that it is actually committed, as a jurisdiction and as a government, to the principles of sustainability.

Unfortunately, if you look at the government's response to the Standing Committee on Health's report No 2 of December 2002, you'll see that, of the 25 recommendations that the committee put forward, three have been agreed to, three have been part or agreed to in principle and 10 have not been agreed to. I think, with that, you see the opportunity go out the door. If you just go to the very first recommendation, it reads:

The Committee recommends that the Government make representations to the Gene Technology Ministerial Council to address the outstanding concerns raised in the report A cautionary tale: fish don't lay tomatoes.

The government's response is: not agreed. The government then provides to the Assembly a response to each of the issues the committee listed in para 3.3 of the report, and says, "These are the answers that you should have."But there are concerns out there. There are many questions that are still unanswered in the report A cautionary tale: fish don't lay tomatoes. I think the government's 21/2-page summary or almost three-page summary of how that could be answered is unsatisfactory in this case.

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