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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6892

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services) (8:49 PM) —The Minister for Health and Ageing asked where I got my information from. I got it from a number of scientists, but I am not relying on that. One source that I thought could be relied on is the Parliamentary Library, which is absolutely straight down the middle and has no bias either way. I have asked a number of scientists and I have affirmation that you can clone from stem cells, but tonight I will read the advice that I got from the library—and this backs up what I had been told by eminent scientists. The advice states:

So-called therapeutic cloning: the technique involves cloning human embryos not for the purpose of allowing them to develop under birth but to extract certain cells. The so-called embryonic stem cells from them grow them into tissues for developing therapies for adults suffering. For certain diseases, the embryos are created by nucleus substitution using nuclear from the adult patient, thus the stem cells are clones for the patient and have potential to grow into any types of tissue and disease. The removal of stem cells results in the destruction of the embryo.

Let us not just rely on that information. It is an important issue but there are more important issues. We should apply the same standards on the use of embryos and stem cells outside Australia as we apply in Australia. In Australia we do not allow trade in human tissue; we do not allow the commercialisation of many things—for instance, blood. We ban trading in human tissues and we ban cloning. Once those stem cells or embryos are exported overseas, Australia has no control over the use of those products with respect to mixed cloning or whatever.