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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6147


Senator HARRADINE (9:29 PM) —I turn to my second amendment. In clause 8, which is on page 4, I am proposing that after the definition of `human embryo clone' there should be imported the term `human embryonic stem cell'. That means an undifferentiated cell that is derived from the human embryo. I am asking that that be included because, at a later stage—not too much later—I will be referring to a human embryonic stem cell. Do you want me to go to the other matters first, Minister? I would be happy to oblige.


Senator Patterson —It may assist the Senate if you move as a whole all the amendments that relate to embryonic stem cells. Is that possible or is it too difficult?


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Chapman)—It can be done by leave, if the mover so wishes.


Senator HARRADINE —I seek leave on the condition that, if something occurs later on in this legislation which requires the definition of `human embryonic stem cell', I can come back to that proposal. I seek leave to have amendments (3) and (4) taken together.

Leave granted.


Senator HARRADINE —Obviously, if we get to the human embryonic stem cell definition, the definition that I propose is uncontroversial. If it has to be done, it simply means an undifferentiated cell that is derived from a human embryo. I move:

(3) Clause 11, page 7 (line 16), after “clone”, insert “or products or components derived from a human embryo clone”.

(4) Clause 11, page 7 (line 19), after “clone”, insert “or products or components derived from a human embryo clone”.

Going to amendments (3) and (4), on page 7 of the bill, clause 11 says:

Offence—importing or exporting a human embryo clone

ยท (1) A person commits an offence if the person intentionally imports a human embryo clone into Australia.

The maximum penalty is 15 years. The clause goes on:

(2) A person commits an offence if the person intentionally exports a human embryo clone from Australia.

So it is dealing with the issue in the bill of importing and exporting a human embryo clone. This bill of course is about cloning. What I am proposing to do, and what my amendments are proposing, is to include the words `or products or components derived from a human embryo clone'. We are proposing that we refuse to allow those products or components, as well as the human embryo clone, to be imported and exported.

If that is not accepted, one of the problems is that there are shysters around the place, overseas—we will leave it at overseas for the time being—who may wish to export human embryo clones or stem cells from human embryo clones. I do not think that we should allow the importation of such clones. The bill would not allow that, but nor should it allow the importation of products or components derived from a human embryo clone. That is all I am saying. I think that is reasonable. We are all against cloning, and I am sure we are against cloning whether it is here or elsewhere, but if we leave the gate open and allow somebody from overseas to export the products or components derived from a human embryo clone, including embryonic stem cells, then I believe we are leaving ourselves open to severe criticism. It is a similar case with regard to export. I think that is a reasonable attempt by me to ensure what we unanimously believe in respect of this—that people should not get away with doing this to Australia.