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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6183


Senator HARRADINE (10:27 AM) —Through you, Mr Temporary Chairman, I point out to the Minister for Health and Ageing that we repeatedly asked for the details which influenced the premiers and chief ministers in the way they were going. We wanted the details in the committee; we wanted the details about which you say, `You were there, you could have asked for them.' We wanted them, but they were refused to the committee. We specifically formally requested that the state premiers and the Prime Minister, the COAG members, give us the papers and the details upon which they based the legislation.

This is the problem that we are faced with, particularly with cases like this. COAG says, `No, that is our property,' and of course the Prime Minister's office—with due respect to him—could not presumably give them to the committee because they could not get the permission of the other parties. So we are flying blind. It is very tragic if in a democracy we are refused a simple request to COAG to provide the basis for its decisions—not only the decision on this matter but decisions in respect of experimentation on human embryos.

We wanted to see what proof they had, if any, that stem cells could be used for successful therapies. They did not give it to us. In that case, they could not give it to us because there was none. That is the real problem that we in the chamber faced in the committee. I understand what Minister Patterson is saying. This is the first time I have spoken. I do not want to speak too much, other than when it is absolutely necessary, but I really should put it on the record that the committee formally requested the documents and was not given them; we were actually refused.