The original National Framework 2006 provided guidance on ethical aspects of gene technology. The National Framework 2006 was not enforceable and was an aspirational set of principles aimed to raise awareness of ethical issues relating to gene technology. The former GTEC did not recommend that the Ministerial Council introduce the National Framework 2006 as mandatory Policy Principles4 under the GT Act (see sections 21–24, 112).

Similarly, GTECCC does not recommend that the National Framework principles set out in Section 5 be introduced by the Ministerial Council as mandatory Policy Principles under the GT Act (see sections 21–24, 112) at this stage5. However, GTECCC recommends to the Regulator that OGTR promote the National Framework 2012 more widely to identified audiences to maximise awareness and application of the principles in the framework. GTECCC will again review this revised version of the National Framework within five years of the date of the current publication (2012). GTECCC will consider whether the Ethical Principles in Section 5.1 should be proposed to be Policy Principles under the GT Act. If this is legislated, the Principles would become enforceable.

Further information is available on the GTECCC website.

4Policy principles are issued by the Ministerial Council. The Regulator must not issue a licence if that would be inconsistent with a policy principle (s57(1) of the GT Act).

5The GTECCC considered that the ethical principles might potentially be operationalised (if issued as Policy Principles) in the following ways:

  • The Regulator could require researchers to show consideration of the National Framework 2012 when making licence applications.
  • The Regulator could require accredited institutions /IBCs to check that National Framework 2012 was considered under the terms of the Act for accreditation, annual reports or licence applications.
  • The National Framework 2012 and OGTR could be listed in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (NHMRC), providing an opportunity to integrate gene technology principles within these broader set of research integrity standards.