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2-Plants: Aventis says it can beat Tasmanian GE crop ban

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----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  GM firm says it can beat Tasmanian ban
SOURCE: The Age, Australia, by Andrew Darby Hobart
DATE:   August 24, 2000

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GM firm says it can beat Tasmanian ban

The multinational agriculture company Aventis has been given legal 
advice that it can beat the Tasmanian Government's pioneering ban on 
genetically modified crops in court if it wants to try. The advice, 
from the Melbourne law firm Deacons, said that the declaration under 
the state's Quarantine Act that GM crops are a forbidden pest would 
not stand up legally both because of its unworkable extent, and 
because it is inconsistent with the Australian constitution. Aventis 
is yet to decide whether to challenge Tasmania's year-long moratorium 
on the crop trials.

GM agricultural companies were repeatedly criticised by members of a 
Senate committee in Hobart yesterday, particularly for their secrecy. 
The criticism followed revelations to the committee about Aventis' 
alleged breaches of guidelines at Mount Gambier this year. Aventis 
said yesterday it had made public the legal advice on Tasmania's ban 
because the company thought it would be of interest to the 
committee's inquiry into the gene legislation. Aventis spokeswoman 
Naomi Stevens denied the decision to release it indicated the company 
had decided against a legal challenge.

The advice from Deacons said that Tasmania's declaration of GM plants 
and plant products as a "pest" would have to include products 
containing GM cotton, such as clothes, tampons and dental floss. 
Tasmanian Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn said outside 
the hearing that he was unaware of any legal challenge to the ban, 
and that the Tasmanian Parliament would proceed with a GM inquiry of 
its own.


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