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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6872

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (5:34 PM) — This regulation making power enables regulations to be made prescribing additional activities that should be exempt from licensing requirements. The reason this was included was to ensure that parliament did not unintentionally prohibit practices regularly undertaken by ART clinics which should not be subjected to the licensing scheme. The offence provision in clause 10 was drafted very broadly in order to ensure that there were no gaps or loopholes. The effect of the offence provisions is that all uses of all excess ART embryos must be licensed. It was therefore necessary to exempt from the licensing scheme certain routine uses of excess ART embryos such as transport, storage, removal from storage et cetera. It is for reasons of prudence and good administration that clause 10(2)(f), the regulation making power, has been included.

If any additional exempt uses are proposed to be included in the regulations it will require the agreement of the states and territories to ensure national consistency and it will be open to the scrutiny of parliament. These are very appropriate safeguards for ensuring that exemptions cannot just be dreamt up by a licensing committee or by applicants for a licence. It ensures that there will be no additional exemptions unless all states and territories and the Commonwealth parliament actively decide that there should be. For this reason I will be opposing Senator Hogg's proposed amendment to remove the regulation making power in clause 10.