As with each new Parliament, the Parliamentary Librarian presents a volume of short, strategic level snapshots of some of the big issues affecting Australia which are expected to figure in the early months of the new Parliament. 

Of particular interest is that “Challenges in regulating biotechnology” has been earmarked as an issue expected to figure early in the new Parliament.
The challenges include: 
  • ownership of biomaterial such as genetically modified seeds and genes and the role of patents in  blocking access to such materials; 
  • bioprospecting and biopiracy and the role of patents in preventing indigenous groups from using specific plant and animal materials; and 
  • biosafety, particularly in relation to genetically modified organisms. 
Other topics may be of relevance, including copyright in the digital world, our relationship with China, healthcare funding and free trade agreements.