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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6294

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (9:12 PM) — Clause 25(5), line 24 of the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 says:

The report must contain recommendations about amendments that should be made to this Act, having regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (4).

The committee may say that they have no recommendations about amendments or they may believe that there should be recommendations about amendments. The committee can deliberate on issues; the impact will be on what recommendations they make about amendments. This parliament, as I have said three times before, will then be able to have an extensive debate, a parliamentary inquiry and a committee hearing about the amendments. The government of the day may not accept the recommendations in the amendments. The discussion will be public if there are amendments being made to the act.

As I said before, the premiers have had an opportunity to look at this legislation. We have had a chance to look at it during the committee hearing. I find it difficult to comprehend that we are discussing this at this late stage. As Senator Knowles reminded me, many of the hearings were held here in Parliament House to give people the opportunity to go along. Any senator is entitled to go to a committee hearing on a bill and ask questions or put in questions. As I said, if amendments are recommended, they will be public, and if they are going to be implemented they will come before the parliament.