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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6156


Senator ABETZ (Special Minister of State) (10:32 PM) —I move amendment (1) on sheet 2695:

(1) Clause 8, page 4 (line 19), omit “a woman”, substitute “a particular woman”.

I refer honourable senators who are following this debate to have a look at clause 14(1) of the bill, where reference is made to the terminology `a particular woman'. In clause 8 of the bill, the definitions section, clause (5)(a) refers to `assisted reproductive technology treatment of the woman concerned'. The proposed definition section also states:

excess ART embryo means a human embryo that:

(a) was created, by assisted reproductive technology, for use in the assisted reproductive technology of a woman ...

My amendment goes to consistency. We have been talking about `a particular woman' in other clauses, but here the bill refers to `a woman'; and further on in the same definitional clause, under the very same heading of `excess ART embyros', reference is made to `the woman'. It seems to me to be a very small amendment whereby the insertion of the word `particular' would define, clarify and narrow the situation considerably. I did raise it in my speech in the second reading debate. I am not sure that it was referred to in the response by the minister. I indicated to officials that, if there was anything that might dissuade me from moving such an amendment, they could give me a ring, because there may well be other matters that I have not considered in relation to this. But, in the absence of that phone call, I have moved the amendment.

As I read the bill, it would allow somebody to engage in reproductive technology and create an embryo simply on the basis that one day it may be used for `a woman' somewhere. It is not being created for `a particular woman' who can be identified. Therefore, that would allow deliberate artificial reproduction to take place. If the embryo then becomes in `excess to the needs of the woman for whom it was created' at a later stage, that woman may well be a woman who does not want any embryos whatsoever, and therefore all the embryos would have been created basically for the purposes of making excess embryos. It seems to me to be just a small amendment, and I would be interested to hear the response.