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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6884


Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (7:50 PM) —I was explaining some of the concerns that I had about the amendments, but, given the fact that I am not supporting the amendments, I do not need to go into explanations about every detail. I believe that the NHMRC guidelines on ethical matters for research involving humans adequately cover it. They say:

In this, as in other experimental fields, those who conscientiously object to research projects or therapeutic programs conducted by institutions that employ them should not be obliged to participate in those projects or programs to which they object, nor should they be put at a disadvantage because of their objection.

I do not think I have anything more to add. We could go on debating this amendment forever. I suggest that the question on this amendment soon be put, because I am not going to be able to add any more to the debate other than that I believe the issue of a conscientious objection is covered adequately by the NHMRC guidelines.