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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6151

Senator HARRADINE (9:56 PM) —I think what Senator Murphy has said it is absolutely correct. The minister says, `We might fix this up by an amendment to the Customs prohibited imports legislation.'

Senator Murphy —They might have trouble identifying them.

Senator HARRADINE —Exactly; they have trouble with that. Then the minister says, in opposition to what I am proposing here, that maybe we would not be able to determine which products. At least you would be able to deal with the situation, as long you knew that these were products of a cloned embryo. Again, I would just say I wonder whether each Premier would expect that this will open the way for importing into Australia products including stem cells from cloned human embryos. The minister even said this is what could happen. Unless my amendment is adopted, this is precisely what will happen.

You are encouraging the cloning of human embryos if you do not vote for what I am proposing. I am sure that most of the premiers would not agree with what was said: `Yes, it is okay to get products including stem cells from human embryos which have been cloned in the United Kingdom.' The United Kingdom, of course! In the United Kingdom they have succumbed to the pressures of the science/technology lobbyists to accept the production of human embryonic clones. But the rest of the world is very concerned about this. Indeed, the United States and Spain suggested in the United Nations that all member countries ban human cloning of any type.

We have been through this in the second reading stage of this piece of legislation: cloning is cloning is cloning. It is precisely the same process whether or not it is cloning for a reproductive outcome; that is, in this outcome you have a somatic cell nuclear transfer, a cloning process, and one cloned embryo may be placed into the body of a woman and another at the same stage of development is then carved up and its stem cells taken. I again say I am sure that, if I rang up a couple of the premiers and said, `Is this what you meant? Is this the COAG agreement?' they would say, `No, it's not the COAG agreement at all. We did not envisage that there would be a loophole, that such cloning products would be able to be imported into Australia.'