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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6182

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (10:23 AM) — Honourable senators know that some years ago—most probably in the late 1980s, when I first came into this chamber—the Senate actually put in place a process to establish legislation committees, because the family law bill had taken four days to go through the chamber. They were not legislation committees then; they were combined committees of legislation and we separated them. A bill went to a committee in order that detailed questions could be answered.

The Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 went to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Knowles, and opportunity was given for honourable senators to ask detailed questions and to have detailed questions answered. I am concerned that, given that process—and that has worked reasonably well, although it has expanded—we are now in a situation where we are going over details and many of the questions that are being asked are the same questions that were asked in that committee. All I am going to say—and people will have to make a decision, because it is a conscience vote—is that I will not be supporting the amendment. I say to honourable senators who have been listening to the debate that they will have to make their decision on the basis of the arguments they have heard.