Senate debates

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006

In Committee

4:19 pm

Photo of Natasha Stott DespojaNatasha Stott Despoja (SA, Australian Democrats) Share this | Hansard source

I join colleagues in commending Senator Colbeck for the intention of his amendments. Having said that, I do think that sometimes there are good reasons, specifically in the acts that we have been dealing with, for doing things in and putting information in guidelines, while on other occasions there is a very strong argument for delegated legislation through regulations. I understand from Senator Colbeck, from our chats and from what he said then, that the idea of providing some level of accountability throughout the regulatory process was one of the intentions behind the amendments. I had concerns about the workability of the amendments that were before us—and I do not think anyone doubted that—in terms of how you would achieve that. Even if you target only the changes that are made through the legislation that is before us, I still think that throws up problems as well, because you have got to look at what other guidelines are already in place. To be quite frank, not a lot in the guidelines would be changed as a consequence of this new bill, even though it would allow some different processes or some procedures that are currently not allowed.

Can I suggest—as I have done in previous debates—that, if we are talking about not a Senate inquiry but an independent inquiry, we should give serious consideration to the Australian Law Reform Commission. I know that during the 2002 debate, when, for example, the issue of patenting came up and people were not sure how to handle that, one of the amendments that I made was a reference of that particular issue to the ALRC. As you would know, that inquiry into patents has taken place and has since reported. So I am a great believer in the ALRC’s work if we are looking at an independent national body that can take into account some of the inconsistencies between the states and territories and, indeed, between them and the Commonwealth. That might be one option to pursue. In the meantime perhaps it is a good idea to withdraw the amendments and continue talking. I acknowledge Senator Colbeck’s intention and I really appreciate him playing a constructive role in this debate. Without wanting to reflect on a decision of the Senate in committee, Mr Temporary Chairman, I am still a little puzzled by the debate and vote that we just had on the commercialisation provision. It was interesting.

Amendments withdrawn.


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