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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
Page: 6302

Senator HARRADINE (10:01 PM) —I do accept what the minister says—it is getting a bit that way. But really, Minister, you are the health minister and for that reason, as well as being in charge of this legislation, I think it deserves your response. If you choose not to respond—

Senator Patterson —I did respond, Senator Harradine.

Senator HARRADINE —But your response was that COAG considered it unnecessary. I was asking on behalf of an organisation—when I say `on behalf of an organisation', I have not contacted the organisation but I did see their submission and I thought it raised important questions about prohibiting all other non-heritable gene manipulations in embryos. Clause 7 of the bill prohibits heritable genetic engineering—namely, germ line engineering—and the suggestion here is that the clause should also prohibit all other non-heritable gene manipulations in embryos. It goes on to indicate that the repeal of the clauses may leave a legislative vacuum. I am simply asking whether that legislative vacuum is there. If the answer is that COAG does not think it is, I think that you, as Minister for Health and Ageing—and I am sure you are interested in it—should take it on notice so that we can deal with the matter later if there is a problem.