Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6896


Senator HARRADINE (9:18 PM) —by leave—I move amendments (1) and (R4) on sheet 2751:

(1) Clause 7, page 4 (after line 18), after the definition of human embryo, insert:

human tissue includes a cell, cells or cultured cells that have a human genome or an altered human genome.

(R4) Page 11 (after line 5), at the end of Division 2, add:

12C Offence—commercial trading in human tissue, human eggs, human sperm or human embryos

(1) A person commits an offence if the person intentionally receives, or offers to receive, valuable consideration from another person for the supply of human tissue (including the person's own tissue).

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) A person commits an offence if the person intentionally gives or offers valuable consideration from another person for the supply of human tissue.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

This issue is a very vital one. It goes to the question of the trading in that which comes from a human. It really has to do with the commercialisation of the human body and the tissues derived therefrom. I am proposing that there be an offence of commercial trading in human tissue, human eggs, human sperm or human embryos. I am proposing that the definition of `human tissue' include `a cell, cells or cultured cells that have a human genome or an altered human genome'.

This amendment would make it an offence to trade in human tissue, human eggs, human sperm or human embryos and would support state laws by plugging a possible loophole in the law. Trade in human tissues is prohibited in every state of the Commonwealth. The production of human cell cultures derived from human cells or cultures, especially stem cell cultures, would provide alternative ways of deriving stem cells and tissues that may not be considered human tissues in state laws because they were not obtained by removal from a human body.

There is a need to ensure that the medical procedures made lawful by the bill do not serve to avoid this important element of existing state law. The prohibition of trade in human tissue is important and has facilitated the existence of relatively inexpensive, efficient and universally available blood bank and organ transplant services. The creation of the lawful possibility of trade in human cells and tissues, and thus a market for them, would prevent a similar development occurring in relation to human tissues and human cells derived by culturing human cells. Such commercialisation would restrict access to human tissues and cells arising from cell cultures to those who could afford them. I would be interested to hear what the Labor Party has to say about that.

The prohibition on trade in human tissue has been an admirable feature of Australian society. The blood bank and organ transplantation services are part of Australia's social capital and the envy of the world for their low cost, high standard, efficiency and universal availability. Trade in human tissue and blood parts is thought by many to involve disrespect for the social and moral significance of humans. I ask the chamber to support this amendment and to support it for the reasons that I have suggested, but also to block a possible loophole in state laws in respect of the process we are endorsing under this legislation.