Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

GM Support Going Stale

By Simon Grose

Australians are increasingly divided in their support for genetically modified crops and foods.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The first week of spring was a busy one for GM crops. It started with a Western Australian organic farmer losing a court challenge against a neighbour over his claim for compensation after drifting GM pollen caused him to lose his “organic” status. This triggered Greens Senator Rachel Siewert to predictably claim that “GM crops have not proven to be safe” – a denial of fact – and calling for the reinstatement of a GM moratorium.

The Australian Research Council followed with the opening of a $4.3 million research hub for “genetic diversity and molecular breeding for wheat in a hot and dry climate” at The University of Adelaide. Look out, Rachel! As the Western Australian wheatbelt warms and dries, Perth’s bakers could be among the first to make GM bread to endanger you like never before.

Next came a survey commissioned by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. It found that while a majority of Australians supported GM technology, mean levels of support fell from 6.07 out of ten in 2012 to 5.33. Strongly committed percentages were almost even, with 15% completely against GM foods and adamant they would never change their minds while 12% deemed it a safe way to produce food.

John Entine, a US science journalist who is an avid campaigner for GM technology, delivered the climax of the week with a speech to the National Press Club. Singing the praises...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.