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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6146


Senator ABETZ (Special Minister of State) (9:25 PM) —I do not wish to delay the committee, but I really do believe that the matter raised by Senator Harradine deserves an answer, because the legal advice provided—and I do not blame the minister for this at all—is clearly spurious and wrong. When you have a situation where the amendment moved by Senator Harradine clearly says that the cell has to be `similar to the potential of the cell formed by the fusion of an ovum and a sperm', it is unacceptable to try to fob that off and say that a sperm of itself would therefore be defined as an embryo, when the amendment clearly says that that is not the intent. Clearly it cannot happen. On important matters such as this, the chamber is entitled to a full explanation to ascertain what the reasons are. There may well be good reasons to not accept Senator Harradine's amendment. I was listening very closely, and it seems to me that, given the wording of the amendment, that assertion is unsustainable.