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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6071

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) (1:52 PM) —I enter this debate on the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 very briefly. I, like other senators, thank all of those who have written to me or phoned my office and who have very sincerely put views which are important to them. I am grateful to have received those comments and I have considered all of them, as much as I possibly could. I have also listened very carefully to the debate both in this chamber and in the other place. I am grateful to many of my colleagues in both places who have raised arguments that have helped me in coming to a conclusion on how to vote on the bill.

Having said that, I will not repeat the arguments and comments from either the proponents or the opponents of the bill. There are elements of many of the comments from both sides that I agree with. I intend to vote for the bill, after much consideration of the debate and the comments that have been made to me by constituents. I have reached this decision on the understanding that embryonic stem cells will otherwise be destroyed. It is my very strong belief that if there is any chance that stem cell research into some of the tragic diseases and ailments that afflict humankind will lead to cures then that is an action well worth taking. I believe the legislation before the Senate contains adequate safeguards and therefore it is my intention to support the legislation.

Debate (on motion by Senator Ian Macdonald) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 1.54 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.