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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6193

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services) (11:33 AM) —When this debate started, we were being offered cures for Alzheimer's disease and many other diseases. Now, on the first morning of the committee stage of this debate, we are talking about money. Money—that is what this bill is all about. Let no-one be under any illusion; this bill is about money. If scientists doing their research out there find a cure, it is for the benefit of humankind. That is how it has happened year after year in Australia. We are breaking through new barriers here. We are putting a value on cures. It will be the rich who can afford them, and the poor will never be able to access them.

I am a conservative. I do not come from the bleeding heart side of the Senate, but if I did and I were a Labor Party person or a Democrat or a Green this would be ringing warning bells for me. If you want fairness and equity in this debate, should we be talking about patenting cures? That does not happen in Australia. It has never happened in Australia before. Scientists have gone out and found cures—many great cures—but they have never put a price on them. I warn the Senate that we are creating new horizons with this particular clause, and I am very apprehensive about it.