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Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Page: 6994


Senator MURPHY (2:36 PM) —My question is to Senator Minchin, the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources. On 12 November I asked a question in relation to the National Stem Cell Centre and, in particular, the management of intellectual property for maximum national benefit. Given the response I received on 13 November, for which I thank the minister, I now ask: can the minister inform the Senate whether the government is satisfied that the Patents Act 1990 is sufficient in its current form to ensure that the Patent Office is considering and will be required to consider the community interest and public health care implications when assessing a patent claim in the human biotechnology area?


Senator MINCHIN (Minister for Finance and Administration) —I do not have the information on the patent office and the particular matters to which Senator Murphy refers, so I will have to get him some information on that as quickly as I can.


Senator MURPHY —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister also inform the Senate whether or not the government has indeed given any consideration to the need for changes to the Patents Act to deal with patent claims in the human biotechnology area?


Senator MINCHIN (Minister for Finance and Administration) —Again, I will have to seek information on that and get it to Senator Murphy as soon as I can.