Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006
I want to indicate for the benefit of the committee that Senator Webber and I are moving amendments. We have five relatively minor amendments—perhaps four minor amendments and one a little less minor. They are not new. Anyone who has read the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs will know the nature of those amendments. They do not in any way detract from the integrity of this bill—a bill which effectively encapsulates the Lockhart recommendations. Therefore, we hope our amendments value add to the legislation. The legislation in its own right, I think, is an effective and appropriate encapsulation of the Lockhart recommendations and, therefore, should be supported. Our amendments concern just a couple of areas where there is a slight distinction between the bill and the private member’s exposure draft bill that Senator Webber, Senator Patterson and I put forward. Having said that, it achieves the same end, but with a slightly different approach. Our amendments will be circulated well in time for the committee stage after question time. I am happy to discuss them with any senators in the meantime.
I just make the point that I hope those listening to this debate understand that when people talk about this being a bad law, obviously that is their perspective on the policy. I just want to make very clear that this is a solid legislative framework. Whether people like it or not is, of course, a matter for debate; I just want members of the public to feel reassured that not only are the Lockhart recommendations effectively enshrined in this bill but this bill is a good bill. Believe me, having proposed an exposure draft, I have gone through the bill with a fine toothcomb to see if there are any problem areas in relation to the regulatory framework.
So I just want to make it very clear that if people have a problem with the policy it is incumbent on them to put forward amendments that would allow the clauses to stand as printed, or amend them. If they have a problem with the strict regulation of this technology you would think that people would put amendments forward to deal with that. The fact that people are not doing that indicates to me that the integrity of this bill cannot be attacked in terms of the regulation that is provided within the bill. I am happy to discuss the amendments in more detail as they come up, but once again I echo my strong support for the legislation.