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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6823


Senator HOGG (1:50 PM) —I also indicate that, upon the success of the amendments just passed, I will withdraw amendment (2) on sheet 2720 standing in my name. I move amendment (3) on sheet 2720:

(3) Clause 10, page 9 (lines 31 and 32), omit paragraph (f).

The reason for moving this amendment—and it may well be, subject to how the debate proceeds on this, something that I might review later as part of this debate—is that it goes to the fact that we are being asked to give a blank cheque when we have yet to see any regulations. With amendment (3), I am seeking to remove clause 10(2)(f) of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002. Clause 10(2)(f) reads:

(f) the use is of a kind prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

So we are looking at an exempt use. When read in conjunction with clause 10(2), 10(2)(f) reads:

(2) A use of an excess ART embryo by a person is an exempt use for the purposes of subsection (1) if:

... ... ...

(f) the use is of a kind prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

I do not intend to spend a great deal of time on this other than to say that, as I understand it, there are no regulations at this stage and, more importantly, no regulations proposed for the future. In the future, even if there were regulations, this clause would give a blank cheque to a person gaining an exemption under this provision. I do not think that is warranted. Indeed, it is really buying a pig in a poke, so to speak. It really avoids parliamentary accountability. As I said, it is like handing over a blank cheque to the licensing committee. In the spirit of the COAG agreement, I believe there is a need for transparency and accountability and I think that this clause, as it is currently constructed before this chamber, should be deleted at this stage. I seek the cooperation of the chamber in seeing that that takes place.