The National Framework of Ethical Principles in Gene Technology 2012 (the National Framework 2012) is intended to encourage ethical conduct in gene technology – in particular where it relates to human health, the environment, genetically modified organisms and products. Decisions about gene technology require researchers and all others involved in gene technology to assess the ethical consequences of their actions. As well as considering whether an action is scientifically or technically achievable, they must also consider whether it is ethically acceptable.

The National Framework 2012 will continue to provide a national reference point for promoting the ethical conduct of dealings with gene technology consistent with the national regulatory system that the Gene Technology Regulator (the Regulator) administers under the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cwth) (the GT Act). The object of the Act is “to protect the health and safety of people and the environment, by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and by managing those risks through regulating certain dealings with GMOs”.

This National Framework 2012:

  • identifies ethical principles and values relevant to work involving gene technology, as set out in Section 5 of this document
  • provides ten principles (Section 5.1) relating to gene technology and to GMOs in particular, which are intended to be useful to scientists and the community
  • aims to promote well-informed ethical decision making within a transparent decision-making process.
The National Framework 2012 is intended to provide assurance to the Australian community that not only are the risks involved in the technology being properly managed but that ethical issues are also being properly considered.