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Thursday, 18 February 1999
Page: 2223


Senator COONEY (1:52 PM) —I would like to make a couple of points about the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Amendment Bill 1998 [1999] . First of all, anybody with poetry in the soul would want to preserve the wildlife of the world. I think later in the year we are going to have a full discussion about biodiversity and the need to preserve the world with the magic presently in it.

The second point I want to make is about traditional medicine, to which a reference appears in the second reading speech. I would like to make it clear, of course, that Chinese medicine—some call it traditional Chinese medicine—is an ancient art and a very honourable one. I would like to make clear that the exploitation of rare animals and beautiful animals is not at the heart of Chinese medi cine. It can and does do a great service to humankind, without relying on those products.

Indeed, in Melbourne there is a move to regulate Chinese medicine—I think it might already be under regulation—by the Victorian government, and the government deserves credit for that. I put in this context the work done by Professor Chiang Lin (I know the minister, Senator Kemp, would have heard of him out Footscray way) working through the RMIT to see that regulation of medicine is properly instituted so that the good parts that come from Chinese medicine—as, indeed, with the good parts that come from any particular profession or any particular practice—are the parts that are preserved. That needs regulation. He fought hard for the regulation and, in spite of all, has got it through. May I say, just to balance up the matter, Senator Kemp, that Senator Crowley, when she was the minister, did a lot of good work in this area.

They are the two points I want to make. Firstly, this bill goes to protect, as I say, the poetry of the world and, secondly, Chinese medicine should not be seen as dependent upon illegitimate products or on the killing of beautiful animals, but does have a legitimacy which, I might say, is equal to the legitimacy of Western medicine; and by marrying the two, as Professor Lin wants to do, we get a much better outcome for all people.