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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6881


Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (6:28 PM) —I do not disagree with the basic premise that people should not be victimised, and this is the position in the guidelines. Senator Brown said that it had been said to Senator Harradine that we can go away and do this in some other law. That was not said about this particular amendment, and I want to put that on the record. As I indicated before, this issue is dealt with in the guidelines. If we are going to make it a punishable criminal offence, as this amendment suggests, then one has to define what is meant by victimisation, how the law would interact with existing laws relating to unfair dismissal and the nature of the employer-employee relationship, whether the employment or study has to relate directly to research involving embryos and whether the victimisation has to relate directly to the conscientious objection.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.