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HUMAN EMBRYO EXPERIMENTATION BILL 1985-SELECT COMMITTEE

Senator Durack, having, by leave, amended General Business, Notice of Motion No. 91 standing in his name, pursuant to notice, moved-

(1) That the Human Embryo Experimentation Bill 1985 be referred to a select committee, and that the committee inquire into and report upon-

(a) for the purposes of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) program, whether it is: (i) necessary, or (ii) desirable to carry out research on relevant human embryos by manipulation, dissection or administration of drugs;

(b) if it is necessary or desirable to carry out such research, whether any guidelines can be formulated to govern such research;

(c) for the purposes of the IVF program, whether it is: (i) necessary, or (ii) desirable to freeze relevant human embryos;

(d) whether it is: (i) necessary, or (ii) justified to discard relevant human embryos and in what circumstances, and if so, whether any rules should be established to govern this procedure;

(e) whether the Bill requires amendment to preserve its general prohibition of research on relevant human embryos without halting the IVF program, and if so, what amendments should be made;

(f) what sanctions, if any, should be imposed for the breach of any prohibitions contained in the Bill; and

(g) whether legislation is desirable to control research on relevant human embryos, or whether that can be achieved by self-regulation, such as under the existing National Health and Medical Research Council ethical codes.

(2) That the committee consist of 7 Senators, as follows-

(a) 3 to be nominated by the Leader of the Government;

(b) 2 to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;

(c) 1 to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats; and

(d) Senator Harradine.

(3) That provisions relating to the powers and procedures of the committee be contained in a subsequent resolution.

Debate ensued.

Question-put and passed.

Powers of Committee: Senator Durack, by leave, moved-

(1) That the following provisions apply to the Select Committee on the Human Embryo Experimentation Bill 1985:

(1) That the Committee proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(2) That the Chairman of the Committee be appointed by and from the members of the Committee.

(3) That the Chairman of the Committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the Committee to be the Deputy-Chairman of the Committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.

(4) That, in the event of an equality of voting, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, have a casting vote.

(5) That the quorum of the Committee be 4 members.

(6) That the Committee have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken.

(7) That the Committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources.

(8) That the Committee report to the Senate on or before 30 April 1986.

(2) That the foregoing provisions of this Resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

Question-put and passed.