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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6872


Senator HARRADINE (5:36 PM) —What power, if any, has the minister or whoever will be in control of this area to ensure that there is not open slather on the use of—and I use the technical term—`excess ART embryos'? Take, for example, the testing of different culture mediums for growth and survival rates. That is an open field. I notice that COAG was very strict in its view that there should be an overall restriction on the number of human embryos that are used as a result of this decision. How is that to apply, for example, to the provisions of clause 2(d) of the legislation? Unless I am mistaken, clause 2(d) permits the training of people in IVF techniques—which include dissecting, lasering, cutting, transportation and observation, as the minister mentioned—and studies in genetic make-up and expression et cetera. How will the principle that has been proposed by COAG—that is to say, the need to ensure that the number of embryos used is restricted—be applied? Is that a fair question? I think that even the supporters of the legislation, and obviously COAG, wanted to see some sort of restriction. You are proposing that that restrictive limit goes in at a later stage in respect of the human embryos that are going to be used as a result of a licence, but these are not licensed areas. Would that be in the new NHMRC-AHEC guidelines, perhaps? I think the current guidelines mention that there is such a restriction. Perhaps that is going to be done in the new guidelines.