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Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Page: 7068

Senator CHRIS EVANS (10:36 PM) —I indicate on behalf of the Labor opposition that, in accordance with past practice, senators will obviously have a conscience vote on the issue but that we are formally going to support Senator Bishop's amendment. As he said while he was speaking to his amendment, this was an issue that originally came up under the objects of the act clause. I expressed the view there that, while my instructions at that time were to oppose it, I had some personal sympathy with it, because its intention was to give force to a COAG agreement. I think the view around the Senate is that obviously as few embryos as possible ought to be involved in this research. We are looking to have the benefits of the research but obviously do not want to allow any sort of carte blanche. We share an interest in ensuring the numbers are restricted to the necessary and approved research. While that is generally within the framework of the bill anyway, I think it was an important addition. His adding the word `restriction' has given force to the argument he put there. We were not prepared to support it in the objects of the act, but we think it fits much better here. Therefore we will be supporting Senator Bishop's amendment as a useful addition to the bill.