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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6875

Senator HOGG (5:52 PM) —I heard the minister's explanation and I thank her for that. I believe this is template legislation which needs to be put in place. I do not believe that the minister used an overwhelming argument to not adopt either amendment (4) or (8). I understand, Minister, there are occasions when there is a need to access the embryo in respect of the genetic disorders that may run in some families—as I said, that is not trying to exclude it.

If the basic intent is not opposed by the government, then I would be quite prepared to defer consideration of this matter to see if we can get a form of words that might meet the concerns. But it seems to me that where we are basically dealing with the selection of the gender of the embryo then that is quite repugnant indeed. I do not think that anyone wants to see that occur. But if we can accommodate that, then that is a reasonable position to be adopted in this legislation.

It is groundbreaking legislation in this country. It arises as a result of the COAG process, and it does not seem unreasonable that where there is something as significant and as important as that issue—that is, gender selection—in some way that critical issue cannot be accommodated in this legislation. I can count just as well as others around here and it does not seem as though there is support for the proposition as it currently stands. But, if the government can see their way clear, there may well be an alternative to amendments (4) and (8) which will find a reasonable place to sit in this legislation.