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Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Page: 7123

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (12:18 PM) —I indicate that I will not be supporting the amendment. Clause 24(5) of the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002 details a number of matters in relation to which the NHMRC Licensing Committee may specify conditions of licence. The list is intentionally an indicative list rather than a mandatory or exhaustive list, recognising that the NHMRC Licensing Committee will receive a range of different applications which will present a range of issues. The NHMRC Licensing Committee must have the discretion to impose conditions as it sees appropriate on a case by case basis.

Senator Harradine's amendment attempts to make the setting of the conditions on certain matters mandatory. I do not support the amendment and consider that it is imperative that the NHMRC Licensing Committee has a discretion to impose the conditions. I have mentioned on a number of occasions during this debate that there will be the opportunity for the public to scrutinise the conditions imposed by the NHMRC Licensing Committee, as these will be detailed on the publicly available database of licence applications. For these reasons, I will not be supporting the amendment.