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Thursday, 11 October 1984
Page: 1620


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(10.38) —As I said in my second reading speech, these references in this legislation were inserted because it is believed by the Government and its advisers that they are necessary for the purpose of removing any doubt as to the legal relationship between a child and its mother or father, particularly when matters of descent come into consideration. I recognise Senator Harradine's very strong views on artificial insemination by donor and in vitro fertilisation. I certainly accept, as he says, that we have some way to go before we sort out the bio-ethical and legal problems associated with both those procedures.

The fact is that these procedures exist and they are occurring and have been occurring for a long time. The fact that this is happening is not something that we should ignore. I am also aware that there is a possibility that in future debates some people, for a debating point, may suggest that because there is reference to AID and IVF in this legislation, this provides some legislative recognition, or legislative approval-I suppose that is the important thing-for those procedures in the way that they are being utilised now. This is in fact a debating point. It is a debating point that I will not use, and I am sure members of the Government will not use, in this place. It is a debating point that I think can easily be put aside. I do not believe that we should omit references such as this in the legislation because in the future someone might misuse them in debate in the way that many things are misused in debates in this place and other places.

For that reason, I do not feel that Senator Harradine's proposition has as much weight as he may put on it in this debate, and we are not inclined to accept his amendment. As I said, I accept the strength of his feelings on the matter and I accept the fact that we have a long way to go in the future is sorting out the legal and other problems in this area. For the reasons I have just given and the reasons I gave in my second reading speech, we are not inclined to accept the amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clauses 5 and 6-by leave-taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 7 (Repeal of Part II).