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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6140

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (8:43 PM) —by leave—The terms of reference, which I am happy to table and make available to Senator Murphy, do not cover these issues. They deal specifically and quite explicitly with genetic privacy. Given that the first report of that inquiry will be delivered next year, it would be a massive and unfair task to undertake a comprehensive review and investigation before March 2003 on the other IP issues raised. I think that it is more important to do this inquiry correctly and comprehensively than to do it quickly— and that is coming from someone who has had a private member's bill on genetic privacy on the Notice Paper since 1997, and yet this has taken until 2003 to come before the Senate. With all due respect to the idea, I do think that the terms of reference quite rightly do not cover these issues and probably there would not be time to incorporate your suggestion or the one before us.

Question agreed to.

Senator NETTLE (New South Wales) (8.44 p.m.)—On behalf of the Australian Greens, I move:

At the end of the motion, add:

“but the Senate calls on the Government:

(a) as a matter of urgency, to issue a reference to the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Australian Health Ethics Committee to examine intellectual property rights as they relate to human stem cell research, in particular how to safeguard the public interest in the widest possible access to discoveries in this field; and

(b) to bring the report of the inquiry to both Houses of the Parliament within 12 months of the passage of this bill”.

Question negatived.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Abetz's), as amended, be agreed to.

A division having been called and the bells being rung—

The PRESIDENT —I understand that senators have suggested that in some instances it would be appropriate for two tellers to be appointed for each side for divisions in relation to these bills as a double-check on the count. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I shall follow that course of action for the first time in the history of the Senate when requested to do so.

Senator Hogg —Mr President, I have had no discussions with anyone about this procedural matter, but I think it is quite obvious who is voting where in this chamber. Unless anyone has any strong objections, I advocate that we go down the path we have always gone down in this chamber, and that is we have a teller for the ayes and a teller for the noes.

The PRESIDENT —The proposal was put by leave. If leave is not granted, we will revert to the normal procedure.

Leave not granted.