The public inquiry as a contested political technology: GM crop moratorium reviews in Australia
In 2007, the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales held reviews of their moratoriums on the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) food crops. The public inquiry form of review selected offered the best strategic pathway to amend these moratoriums to allow commercial release. As such, the reviews represented 'political technologies'. This proposition is informed by: their formation within a policy context of pro-GM development, which saw 'stacked' pro-GM review panels, narrow terms of reference, and outcomes favouring a narrow coalition of agbiotechnology interests; the critical literature on public inquiries; and other evidences that suggest the underlying purpose of the public inquiries was to reach the inescapable conclusion that the moratoriums should be changed. While contributing to the literature on the public inquiry, particularly in relation to science, technology and environmental governance, these findings also invite the suggestion of new deliberative forms of the public inquiry to more adequately address legitimacy and policy effectiveness.