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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6149


Senator ABETZ (Special Minister of State) (9:45 PM) —I think it might assist if I go first and then the minister can respond. I am very concerned. I think I heard, as Senator Harradine did, that we are being told that it will not be illegal to import into Australia elements of a human clone. You cannot import the total human clone but you can import parts of it. With great respect—and this might be an analogy that Senator Nettle would understand—that is like saying that we are against the shooting of elephants but you can import ivory into Australia; if you do not support the shooting of elephants, you will stop the importation of ivory into your country, because that is the reason that people shoot elephants. Similarly, I must say, it is quite astounding to say that it is horrendous and immoral to make human clones, but if you happen to do so you can import the parts into Australia. I find that argument most concerning.

I doubt that this amendment is in conflict with COAG. Quite frankly, I doubt that COAG gave it the sort of detailed consideration that we are giving this bill tonight. I can see nothing that is in conflict with our abhorrence of human cloning to say that it is an unacceptable practice, irrespective of where it occurs in the world, and any elements that come from it that you then try to import into Australia should be banned as well. Another analogy is to say that AK47s are allowed in certain countries; as a result, we will allow them to be imported into Australia. The argument has no moral suasion; it has no logic behind it. I thought that in this place we were all united in our abhorrence of human cloning, yet somehow COAG, we are led to believe, said it would be okay if you did engage in this abhorrent practice in another country and you could make a profit from it by selling the parts into Australia. I find the argument quite unacceptable. It is a pity, quite frankly, that there are not more honourable senators listening in this chamber—I trust they are all listening in their rooms— because some of these issues that Senator Harradine raised I think are very important issues and are ones which are not in conflict with the COAG agreement.