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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6878

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (6:17 PM) — Senator Harradine answered his own question or anticipated the way that I would reply by saying that it is appropriate that the NHMRC guidelines address this issue in a general sense. To include it as a criminal offence carrying a significant penalty requires more detailed consideration of a range of issues, including the Commonwealth's constitutional power to regulate in respect of individuals in this way, the nature of employee and employer relationships and the elements of the offence itself. The broad issues of conscientious objection are more appropriately dealt with in the guidelines issued by the NHMRC. We will not be supporting the amendment.