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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6915

Senator BROWN (11:18 PM) —The point of the amendment is to meet many of the concerns that senators, including Democrat senators, have expressed about the complex and difficult ethical and social issues that come out of the experimentation with stem cells. We have got a back-to-front argument that says we cannot stop this process, that we have to allow it to continue before we put in place or find the best safeguard which is easily identifiable, is expert and is able to handle those issues. It is back to front. What the Greens are saying is that we should have a national stem cell bank that will regulate and license the use of stem cells. This will prevent patenting, which will allow that research to be driven by commercial gain, or will shut out other potential benefits coming from it. If this bank is not supported then we go without that benefit. This is a matter that we will have to continue debating in the morning—I am aware that there are only 15 seconds left in this debate. Let me say that it is a crucial matter as far as I am concerned. Some members have been talking about amendments to this bank idea, so let us have them. But I think it is a centre point of assuaging my concerns with the whole legislation.

Progress reported.