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Cloning Legislative Review Committee Established

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THE HON MARK BUTLER MP Minister for Mental Health and Ageing


22 December 2010

Cloning Legislative Review Committee Established

An independent committee has been established by the Federal Government to review cloning legislation in Australia.

The independent Legislation Review Committee for the review of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 was announced today by the Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.

Mr Butler said that the committee, chaired by the Hon Peter Heerey QC, will embark on a work program which will include seeking submissions from the public and consulting widely with state and territory governments and experts in the field.

“The independent committee comprises a number of eminent Australians with wide-ranging experience across many disciplines. I am fortunate to have these people providing key strategic advice regarding the two Commonwealth Acts dealing with cloning and human embryos.

“The Acts, passed by the Australian Parliament in 2002 and followed by complementary state and territory legislation, banned human cloning and placed strict conditions on research involving human embryos in line with community attitudes and expectations.

“The legislation also included a mandatory requirement that each Act be reviewed and that there be a report back to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australian Parliament.

Mr Butler said the reviews undertaken by the committee will examine the operation of these laws and will give a broad range of people with expertise or experience in relevant disciplines, as well as the general public, the opportunity to contribute their ideas.

“I am aware that many people hold diverse and passionate views about the current legislation, especially about research involving human embryos.

“This review will help us better understand how the Acts are operating in the current environment and how people think they could be improved, and I look forward to receiving the recommendations of the committee,” Mr Butler said.

For more information call Mr Butler’s office on (02) 6277 7280


The Hon Peter Heerey QC (Chair)

The Hon Peter Heerey QC has had a distinguished career in the fields of Law and Intellectual Property. He was the Judge of the Federal Court of Australia for over 19 years, and has served on several high level committees nationally and internationally. He is currently the Chairperson of the Australian Electoral Commission

Professor Loane Skene

Professor Skene is a renowned lawyer, ethicist and academic. She is currently a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and has served on numerous federal and state advisory committees. She was a member of the previous Review Committee in 2005,

Professor Ian Frazer

Professor Frazer was Australian of the Year in 2006 for his research into the papilloma viruses and for his development of a vaccine for the virus in cervical cancer. He is president of Cancer Council Australia, and advises the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Doctor Faye Thompson

Doctor Thompson has published extensively and is internationally recognised for identifying the ethics that are implicit in the practice of Midwifery. She has been an appointed member of several national and international committees including the Queensland Government Maternity Service Steering Committee and was the Lead Consultant in the Development of a national Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives in Australia.

Reverend Kevin McGovern

Reverend McGovern is a Catholic priest and is currently the Director of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics in East Melbourne. He is a member of several health ethics committees and has lectured extensively on ethics, theology and contemporary ethical issues.