Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006
I just want to say that I do understand Senator Nettle’s motivation. It is the same motivation that Senator Stott Despoja, Senator Nettle and I shared in 2002. The fundamental principle is that whatever potential therapy, whatever potential cure—whatever results—ensues from this research if this legislation passes, it should be available to all Australians. I think that is a principle or a tenet that we all agree with.
The question, then, is: do these amendments, as they are framed, deliver that outcome? I am not sure that they do, but I am not sure that they do not. I suppose I am mulling, which is possibly a little naughty. If the NHMRC has to have regard to the capacity of any scientific advances to be delivered through the public health system and/or to reduce global disease burden, I am not sure that it is actually possible for the NHMRC to deliver that. Do they have the capacity to undertake that analysis? It is not the purpose for which the entity was established. It is not a normal principle that they would go through to assess anything. So the question has to be: whilst we understand and agree with the principle, does that actually deliver the outcome we are attempting to achieve?
I now turn to the second amendment. Are we doing this cognately?