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Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Page: 7193


Senator HARRADINE (6:05 PM) —Senator Evans has really said, `Go ahead; put the cart before the horse,' and Senator Collins has said, `Let's let the horse bolt.' Just for your information, this chamber did express its view as far back as 12 years ago when I moved to amend the patents legislation. As a result of that the patents legislation says that `human beings and the biological process for their generation' are not patentable inventions. I really was not aware of the existence of stem cells at that time and I am not sure that too many people were. Clearly, however we look at it, that was the intention of the legislation. If you look at the debate at that time, the intention was clearly to exclude that area of human life.

I am mindful of the time, although I would happily go on for quite a while dealing with this question of patents, because it is an area that I have been interested in for some considerable time. I was successful on at least that particular occasion, for what it is worth, in getting the Patents Act amended. I support the proposals that have been put forward by Senator Collins and Senator Murphy. I think that they are not mutually exclusive—in other words, both can be supported, and I support both of them.