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Thursday, 14 November 2002
Page: 6341

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (10:34 AM) —I know that Senator Harradine's intention was to provoke me to respond and, yes, I am provoked. I will put this on record very simply, because Senator Harradine, I hope, is aware of the comments that I have made not only in my contribution to the committee report on this bill but also in my speech in the second reading debate on both pieces of legislation. As Senator Harradine is more than aware, I and many others have recognised that the distinctions between the terminologies of reproductive and therapeutic cloning are not always helpful. I possibly used the terminology `human reproductive cloning' more out of habit than anything else. Throughout my Senate career— particularly since 1997 and, of course, since the advent of Dolly the sheep—I have been an interested spectator in this debate and have been interested in prohibiting what at one stage was known as human reproductive cloning. Rather than take issue with Senator Harradine's specific points now—although I do find it extraordinary that it took Senator Harradine a couple of minutes into my speech in the second reading debate to claim that I was in some way impugning him when I was making a general comment on Senate committee processes—I will say that he has no qualms about misrepresenting me in this debate.

I think Senator Harradine has made very good points during the committee process and more generally, as did others in their presentations to the committee, that `therapeutic cloning' is a misleading term. As I noted in the committee report and said in my speech the other day, the term `therapeutic cloning' collapses both therapeutic and non-therapeutic research on embryos and also the distinction between destructive and non-destructive research on embryos. So I think there is good reason to call for—and I acknowledge Senator Harradine has done this, as have I—more specific and clarified terminology in this debate. I think you know, Senator Harradine, that I am conscious of the distinctions and I am not intending to mislead the parliament when I use the terminology `human reproductive cloning'. I think that was a mischievous point and I would like us to get back to the issue at hand, which was the specific amendments the government has put forward which the Australian Democrats will be supporting.