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Thursday, 14 November 2002
Page: 6347


Senator MINCHIN (Minister for Finance and Administration) (11:12 AM) —I would like to support this amendment by making the case that the communique makes it very clear that we are talking about access only to embryos created before 5 April 2002. I also point out that clause 21(4)(a) of the bill specifically provides that the NHMRC Licensing Committee must have regard to `the number of excess ART embryos likely to be necessary'. In clause 24(5)(b) it says that the conditions specified in the licence may include conditions relating to `the number of excess ART embryos in respect of which' et cetera. So the issue of quantity and numbers is very much part of this bill. I think it is clear from the communique that the Prime Minister, the premiers and the chief ministers were concerned to regulate with respect to that matter. That is specifically why this whole arrangement is based on embryos created before 5 April 2002 being the only ones able to be used for research. I think it is inherent in this bill. I think it is a commendable amendment proposed by Senator Bishop. I hope very much that Senator Patterson is in a position to accept the sensible amendment.