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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6175


Senator HOGG (9:43 AM) —Minister Patterson, I heard your explanation on the issue that I raised. When I sat down to prepare my notes for this debate, I envisaged that there would have been a wider range of people speaking in the second reading debate on this bill to flesh out some of the more contentious issues than has actually taken place. It really seems to me that the explanation that you have given, whilst I understand where you are coming from, nonetheless leaves what I would consider to be a flaw in the bill.

I have no intention of moving an amendment to the bill; but, if this issue is placed on the public record, then, when it is revisited somewhere down the track, as it undoubtedly will be, people will be able to look back and say that it was an issue at this point in time. Minister, I heard the advice you gave in respect of people aiding and abetting a crime, but we are dealing with probably one of the most serious issues that people are going to be confronted with—that is, the creation of a human embryo clone and its implantation into a human person. Whilst I hear your explanation, I do not think that the bill goes far enough.

Having said that, I also raised in my speech in the second reading debate the issue of the word `intentionally'. I understand that Senator Abetz is going down a different path, but it seems to me that there is an inconsistency in the bill as well—not a great inconsistency but an inconsistency—in that the word `intentionally' is used in some places but that clause 22(3) of the bill says:

A person commits an offence if the person intentionally places an embryo in the body of a woman knowing that, or reckless as to whether, the embryo is a prohibited embryo.

I know that the issues of recklessness and negligence were raised in the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee hearings on this matter. So why have we seen in this bill the word `intentionally' inserted in all of these various clauses yet a reference at one stage to recklessness? Why haven't recklessness and negligence been included as part of the drafting of this bill? If they have not been included, is there some reason why they have not been included? Will those who sit down later on and interpret the meaning of this bill say, `They didn't include recklessness and they didn't include negligence or other similar terms; they only sought at that stage to include the word “intentionally”'? Can the minister enlighten us as to why only `intentionally' has been included?