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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6901


Senator HOGG (10:00 PM) —I move amendment (R5) in my name on revised sheet 2720:

(R5) Clause 16, page 13 (line 28), at the end of subclause (3), add:

; (c) be satisfied upon receipt of a written declaration by the member proposed to be appointed that the member proposed does not have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a body that undertakes uses of excess ART embryos, being an interest of a kind that could conflict with the proper performance of the member's functions.

This amendment adds a new subclause (c) to clause 16(3). The amendment deals specifically with the issue of conflict of interest of people being appointed to the NHMRC Licensing Committee. Clause 16(3) specifically states:

Before appointing a member, the Minister must:

And there are presently two criteria there, namely:

(a) seek nominations from the States and from such bodies as are prescribed by the regulations for the purpose; and

(b) consult, and have regard to the views expressed by, the States on the proposed appointment.

My new subclause (c) states:

(c) be satisfied upon receipt of a written declaration by the member proposed to be appointed that the member proposed does not have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a body that undertakes uses of excess ART embryos, being an interest of a kind that could conflict with the proper performance of the member's functions.

The amendment seeks a declaration in writing such that, if there were a challenge to the bona fides of the person seeking membership and the judgment of the minister is brought into question, the written declaration would be available for perusal. That is something that is a must. And, of course, a person being considered for the position needs to have no conflict of interest by way of any pecuniary interest, whether it be direct or indirect. I believe that it is a reasonable amendment. I believe that there is a degree of support around the chamber for this revised amendment as circulated. So, in the interests of time, I commend the amendment to the chamber.