Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006
I was not going to speak to this amendment, but with regard to the NHMRC, licensing and how it affects an embryo I think it should be put on the record that the definition of an embryo in this bill was not endorsed by the NHMRC. It is a definition that comes from a draft paper and it has never been endorsed by the body to which we are putting this position. The reason it is not endorsed by the NHMRC is that it is open to a lot of manipulation. Because the definition deals with movement of an embryo to a favourable environment, if there is not movement to a favourable environment then it is not determined to be an embryo. If that is the case, you can deliberately alter the process of fertilisation so as to disable an embryo so that it will not develop its primitive streak. That is a corruption of the whole process which I believe a lot of people in this place were trying to stop. If you are trying to stand on the strength and technical validity of this bill, you should know that it is not apparent in the most fundamental definition of what we are talking about. The definition of the embryo is flawed.
It is not for me to suggest how you can fix that, but I would have thought that, with all the great forethought that has apparently been put into this process, you would have got the absolute fundamental tenet of what you are talking about correct. If this goes through, you will have a definition of an embryo which you will be referring to in relationships with the licensing agreements that can be manipulated in such a way as to create a huge extension beyond what you all perceived it to be. For a bit of a homework, you should go away and fix it.