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Democrats welcome passing of Research Involving Embryos Bill.



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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Democrats Science and Biotechnology Spokesperson 5 December 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/586

Democrats welcome passing of Research Involving Embryos Bill

The Australian Democrats welcome the Senate’s passing of the historic Research Involving Embryos Bill.

Democrats’ Science and Biotechnology spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said the Senate’s decision means Australia finally has nationally consistent legislation for research on human embryos.

“The Democrats have long called for such a regime. Repeated attempts for committees and legislation by the Democrats have been heeded,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

“Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world in biotechnology regulation and this legislation will provide a robust, nationally consistent framework covering all uses of excess ART embryos.

“Importantly, long overdue legislation to ban human cloning has also been passed, an issue first raised by the Democrats in 1997.

“I am glad legislation was passed unanimously and that the Stott Despoja/McLucas amendment was passed 53-9 votes for the examination of a national stem cell bank,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

“A significant development during the debate on the Research Involving Embryos Bill was the Prime Minister’s support for the Democrats’ amendment establishing a comprehensive review of intellectual property issues surrounding stem cell sciences.

“The terms of reference for the inquiry as announced by the Prime Minister accurately reflect the Democrats’ amendment requiring a holistic approach to considering IP issues and stem cell sciences.

“Stem cell sciences, as with many areas in biotechnology, pose profound and important on-going challenges.

“This legislation and the comprehensive review of IP concerns are significant advances in ensuring constructive engagement between science, public interest and legislation.

“The Democrats recognise making judgements on these issues has not been easy and the debate in the Senate has canvassed a range of sincerely held views.

“It has been an exciting debate, enhanced by Senators being allowed to exercise a conscience vote.

“I hope we will see more examples of this in the future,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

For media inquiries please contact Serena Rogers on 0419 833 571

http://www.democrats.org.au/