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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6822


Senator HARRADINE (1:37 PM) —I think it is desirable to look at what COAG has said. COAG is very clear in what it is saying about the use of ART embryos. I read from the first page of appendix 3:

The Council agreed that research involving the destruction of existing excess ART embryos be permitted under a strict regulatory regime to enable Australia to remain at the forefront of research which may lead to medical breakthroughs in the treatment of disease.

Notice it says `may lead'. It does not say that they are convinced about it, nor does it say that there has been proof of concept of any treatment utilising excess ART embryos. What it does say—and I remind the Labor Party that this is what it says—is that there needs to be a strict regulatory regime. I will be referring to this along the way, because I do not think that this is a strict regulatory regime at all. The arguments have been put forward by both Senator Collins and Senator Nettle about the problems identified by the Australian Health Ethics Committee. Those arguments are indisputable. It is a question of whether we can have the strictest regulatory regime. It has been acknowledged by all around this chamber that the proposal put forward by Senator Collins is the strict regulatory regime that is being requested. That strict regulatory regime is being requested by COAG. The advice from Senator Nettle, who also thought of this as an amendment, as I heard her, was that the proposal by Senator Collins is stricter than hers and that she was supporting it. I see that as an indication to the chamber that the proposal by Senator Collins should be supported, and I do so.

Question agreed to.

Original question put:

That the amendments (Senator Jacinta Collins's) be agreed to.