Labor’s comprehensive victory at the [March 2017] WA [Western Australia] election raises questions about the future status of plant biotechnology development in the large grain cropping and exporting state due to an expanded Upper House crossbench.
Mark McGowan’s Labor party will govern with a clear Lower House majority but will require critical votes from a 12-member crossbench – up from nine in the previous parliament – to pass legislation through the 36-member Legislative Council.
On current election forecasts, Labor is likely to have 14 members and will be unable to pass any legislation, by gaining the required 19-votes, with only the support of the Greens who are set to hold three votes.
A Labor/Greens combination in the Upper House contributed to a long-running moratorium on Genetically Modified (GM) crops being grown in WA, ahead of the 2008 election.
But that ideological resistance was overcome when a new Liberal/National government allowed large-scale field trials of GM canola to be held successfully in various cropping zones which eventually cleared the pathway to full commercialisation in 2010.
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