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  • Petitioned The Australian Government

This petition was delivered to:

The Australian Government
Leader of the Opposition
The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Shadow Minister for Health
The Hon Peter Dutton MP
The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
Shadow Attorney-General
Senator the Hon George Brandis SC
Minister for Industry and Innovation
The Hon Greg Combet AM MP
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research
The Hon Chris Bowen MP
Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science
Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP
Australian Greens
Senator Richard Di Natale
Prime Minister
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Health
The Hon Tanya Plibersek
Leader of the Australian Greens
Senator Christine Milne
Australian Greens
Senator Penny Wright

Change the law to stop patents over human genetic material.

    1. Cancer Voices Australia
    2. Petition by

      Cancer Voices Australia

      Sydney, Australia

At the moment, our genetic material can be patented or “owned” by biotech companies. This means they can hold a monopoly over them and accessing testing and treatments will become increasingly costly and slow. This is obviously not helpful for diagnosis, or the very difficult treatment decisions which a person must make once aware that they carry these genetic mutations.

This needs to change.

It's our genes. It's not ‘property’. Companies should not be able to own human genetic material. They should not be able to stop researchers using what occurs in nature to help find cures and treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Methods of testing or access to material for researchers need to be made as free and as easy as possible to speed it up and make sure we get the most innovative and the best health care in the promising new age of personalised medicine.

Cancer Voices Australia, and the many people living with cancer today, are calling for an amendment to the Patents Act which would exclude the ability to patent any human genetic material.

Can you help add more voices to the campaign against gene patents by sharing the petition on twitter (link) and Facebook (link)?

Let’s say no to gene patents!


Tweet to @JuliaGillard and @TonyAbbottMHR

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,000 signatures
    2. A hard copy petition for Parliament

      Cancer Voices Australia
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks so much for your help in getting so close to 1,000 signatures!!
      Cancer Voices Australia has also started a hard copy petition as well.
      Because the Australian Parliament does not accept an e-petition.
      So while this e-petition is great to immediately show our politicians how strongly the Australian community feels about this issue, we still need a formal petition to present to the Parliament.
      And we would love your help collecting signatures.
      You can download a petition sheet here: http://www.cancervoices.org.au/images/0/03/Gene_Patent_Petition_to_House_of_Representatives.pdf
      Please print a copy and get your friends and family to sign it and send it back to us so we can present them all to the Parliament. Our address is on the sheet.
      Get as many signatures as you can!!
      Of course, the Parliament has rules... So make sure there’s nothing on the back of the sheet and that all signatures are handwritten originals.
      Thanks so much for your help!
      Cancer Voices Australia

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. ACLU video

      Cancer Voices Australia
      Petition Organizer

      Watch the ACLU video on this page to see the same fight going on in the United States.

    5. Patenting of human genes explained by Prof Peter Cashman

      Ashleigh Moore
      Petition Organizer

      if you are seeking more information on the gene patent debate then watch Professor Peter Cashman of Sydney Law School explain the background, history to current legal cases

      Patenting of Genes - Prof Peter Cashman

      Patenting of Genes - Ownership of Cures and Crops by Multinationals? Should corporations be allowed to own your genes and our crops? What happens when transnational corporations patent the building blocks of life and loaf? Patent laws have underpinned massive profits for some and death sentences for others, but what do we really know about their practical application?

    6. Reached 100 signatures
    7. Historic ruling allows private firms to patent human genetic material

      Ashleigh Moore
      Petition Organizer

      Cancer Voices Australia and breast cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy had challenged the firm’s right to the patent in the Federal Court but lost the case today. Federal Court Justice John Nicholas ruled today that the company may continue to hold the patent.
      “We are extremely disappointed and it has far ranging impacts for people with cancer and researchers who want to be able to use these genes that have been patented,” said Sally Crossing AM, spokesperson for Cancer Voices Australia.
      “The more we restrict use and allow ownership of human genes to particular commercial interests, the more difficult and costly it is to undertake research,” she said.
      “The finding is in relation to one breast cancer gene mutation, BRCA1, but it could be applied to a patent over any human gene.”
      Ms Crossing said the judge found that the fact BRCA1 is isolated by human intervention renders

      Historic ruling allows private firms to patent human genetic material

      Private firms are allowed to hold a patent over cancer-causing gene mutations, according to an historic ruling in the Federal Court today that has wide-ranging implications for researchers and cancer patients. The case centred on a gene mutation called BRCA1, which puts women who have the mutation at a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

    8. Reached 50 signatures
    9. Australian Federal Court Rules Cancer Gene Patent Is Legal

      Cancer Voices Australia
      Petition Organizer
      Gene patenting: Australian court rules BRCA1 patent is legal

      The BRCA1 gene is thought to account for 45% of hereditary breast cancer, and at least 80% of hereditary cancer involving both breast and ovarian cancers. Tips Times "The issue that arises in this case is of considerable importance. It relates to the patentability of genes, or gene sequences, and the practice of gene patenting".

    10. Reached 10 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Ruturaj Patil AUSTRALIA
      • 10 months ago

      It's so important to hide the things we want private.

    • Julie Elphick KOORINGAL, AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 year ago

      My father is dying of cancer

      My father in law did.

      My husband died of it 5 days after his 55th birthday

      My best friend died of breast cancer last year at age 51 and my nephew died last year at age 28

      Seems simple ....but it isn't - what can I look forward to at 55?


    • Steve Thompson AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 year ago

      The human geneome belongs to all humanity, no one should make a monetry profit from it

      • about 1 year ago

      So genetic testing can be affordable. No company should be allowed to profit from our genes!

    • Stephanie Hartgen PLYMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      Have we really got to the point where making money from disease is more important than the lives of those suffering? I suppose it was inevitable in a culture like today's.


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