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Monday, 16 September 2002
Page: 6307

Mr WILLIAMS (Attorney-General) (9:17 PM) —On indulgence, since the circumstances in which we come upon this debate are slightly unusual, it might assist the House if I explain what has happened in relation to the approval of the splitting of the original bill, the Research Involving Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002. The bill we are about to debate, the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002, is part of the original. The two bills—the one that was passed in the last sittings together with the one for which the second reading was approved this evening—will together provide the same outcome as a single bill. To ensure consistency with the single bill, the review, monitoring and enforcement clauses have either been replicated in the split bills or amended slightly to give the same effect as the single bill.

The review clause has been replicated in both bills. Both acts will be reviewed within three years, consistent with the COAG agreement and under its terms. The reviews of both acts would be undertaken concurrently and by the same people. If the second bill is passed, the monitoring and enforcement provisions would remain consistent with the original consolidated bill. The NHMRC licensing committee would have responsibility for this. If the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 is not passed, then by default the Australian Federal Police would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing prohibited practices. The alternative—establishing a nine-member licensing committee for the sole purpose of monitoring prohibited practices—would appear to be overly bureaucratic. I trust that may assist the House in the debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hawker)—The House will now consider the bill in detail. In accordance with standing order 226, the House will consider the clauses of the bill in numerical order, followed by any schedule, any postponed questions and, finally, the title.

Clauses 1 to 24—by leave—taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 25.