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
Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Page: 7066


Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (10:17 PM) — Senator Barnett's amendment (R5) on sheet 2694 revised seeks to confine permission to use excess ART embryos only for the derivation of stem cells. It would prevent all ART related research, training and quality assurance work. These practices have been occurring in Australia for 30-odd years. I was actually at the Queen Vic when they first started the IVF program, doing foetal movement research, so when I say that it is 30-odd years it makes me feel old. Some of you were not born then.

These practices have been occurring in Australia for 30-odd years and have contributed significantly to the high standard of ART clinical practice available to Australian couples today. To ban such activities would severely impact on the ability of ART clinics to maintain and continue such treatment. This amendment would also prevent couples from donating their excess ART embryos to IVF related research. Many couples want to donate their excess ART embryos for this type of research in order to help other infertile couples to become pregnant.

As I noted previously, I will be opposing any amendment which seeks to restrict the types of research for which a licence may be sought. As I have said, the legislation is currently drafted in a way that is entirely consistent with the COAG decision. It ensures that no pre-emptive decisions are made about the relative merits of the various types of research and it ensures that all users of excess ART embryos are treated equally and are assessed by range of experts in accordance with strict criteria.

My arguments opposing Senator Barnett's amendment (1) on sheet 2757 are the same as in relation to the previous amendments that were defeated and I do not propose detailing them again. I will not be supporting the amendment.