Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006
I move Australian Greens amendment (3) on revised sheet 5112:
(3) Schedule 2, item 35, page 26 (after line 3), at the end of section 47B, add:
(4) The Minister must present to Parliament legislation for the establishment of the National Stem Cell Bank within two years of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Act 2006 receiving Royal Assent.
This amendment is about establishing a stem cell bank. The last one was about putting stem cell lines into a stem cell bank. This one stipulates that within two years the minister should provide legislation to the parliament designed to establish a stem cell bank. Of the three amendments that I am moving, this is the most straightforward. This says we should have a stem cell bank in two years time.
In 2002, the Australian Greens sought to achieve this outcome. What happened in 2002 was that the Lockhart committee was directed to look at the issue of whether we should have a stem cell bank. Lockhart recommendation No. 47 was that a national stem cell bank should be established. So it is a recommendation of Lockhart that we have a stem cell bank. On 23 June this year, the Prime Minister put out a media release saying that the government supports a national stem cell bank. The current legislation provides that in six months time the minister has to report back about what is going on in establishing a stem cell bank.
This amendment is quite generous. It says that in two years legislation should be introduced providing for a stem cell bank. There are many issues that need to be discussed around the establishment of a stem cell bank. The CEO of the Australian Stem Cell Centre, as part of the inquiry, indicated that when a stem cell bank was set up in Scotland it took between 18 months and two years. That is where the two years suggested in this amendment came from. If it takes two years overseas, I am allowing for two years here. It could be a lot faster here because there is already an Australian Stem Cell Centre, but there does need to be time; that is recognised in this amendment. This amendment says in two years let us have the minister come in here with some legislation and we will set up a stem cell bank. This is probably the clearest of any amendments. I commend the amendment to the Senate.