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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6894


Senator HARRIS (9:04 PM) —I rise to place it on the record that One Nation will support the amendment moved by Senator Boswell. If we look at Senator Boswell's amendment in context—in division 2 of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002, under the section entitled `Offences', which is totally in order—it does not amend any section of the government's amendment, so it is not deleting or altering what the government has brought forward in the bill. I believe the amendment very concisely and clearly adds to the bill by clarifying that it will be an offence to export a human embryonic stem cell or products derived from human embryos.

Senator Stott Despoja mentioned the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002. It is quite possible to produce a human embryo without resorting to cloning in any way. Again, earlier I spoke of the problems arising from the government bringing in this legislation without bringing in any consequential amendments. I believe we have the Minister for Health and Ageing indicating that the government has the intention of altering the Customs legislation. I would just seek clarification from the minister to ensure that I did not misunderstand her. So one piece of consequential legislation is going to come in as a result of this legislation. Why isn't it here now? The government has had considerable time to look at the implications of this legislation.

So Senator Boswell's amendment does not take away from the government's legislation. I believe it adds to it. It brings absolute clarity that, under any circumstances whatsoever, it is an offence to export a human embryo, embryonic stem cell or product. What doesn't the amendment do? It does not in any way prohibit the production of adult stem cells. I believe it does not prohibit in any way the ability of researchers to develop adult stem cell lines. Therefore it is only impacting on embryonic stem cells. I have received, as all senators in this chamber would have received, enormous amounts of correspondence in relation to this legislation. It has overwhelmingly called on this chamber to reject, except for IVF purposes, experimentation on or trade in human embryos. In conclusion, I indicate that One Nation will be supporting Senator Boswell's amendment.