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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6910

Senator BARNETT (10:55 PM) —I acknowledge the comments of the minister and the good grace and goodwill shown to Senator Bishop and others in this chamber who support a very open and transparent process in terms of reporting. Senator Bishop's amendment is entirely consistent with my amendment (R4), apart from clause 3(f), which says that the research conducted under licences issued under this act and the outcomes of that research should also be part of the reporting procedure.

Nevertheless, I support entirely Senator Bishop's amendment. I note that it is consistent with the COAG agreement in clause 6.4, which says:

... the system should provide for public reporting of research involving embryos so as to improve transparency and accountability to the public.

That is the whole point and that is the philosophy that we are trying to inject into this bill. That is why this amendment is a very good one. The minister referred to tying up the resources of the NHMRC. Under clause 29 they are required, in any event, to ensure that this information is provided in a database. If that is the case, there will not be too much effort required to pull the information off the database and report the information and details to the parliament twice yearly, which is required under this amendment.

This amendment supports full disclosure and it supports a reporting process. I also note that there may be an argument against it that says, `We can get this information through Senate estimates or questions on notice.' But this simply brings the information into the parliament. So, in light of the goodwill shown by the minister and the Labor Party towards Senator Bishop's amendment, I foreshadow the withdrawal of my amendment in lieu of Senator Bishop's amendment. I will give that amendment my full support.