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Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Page: 6150

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (9:51 PM) —I refer Senator Barnett, with all due respect, to my second reading speech, where I refer to that issue. Senator Abetz referred to the importation of ivory. One of the issues is that one can usually identify ivory. We need to make this clear: we are banning the importation of clones. One of the problems that we have is that it is difficult to determine what products, if any—and I hope there would be none—have benefited from research using embryo clones or have involved the use of embryo clones. We are now talking about whether there is a product or a therapeutic benefit. There are companies in Australia that spend inordinate amounts of money deciphering what is in a medication, for example. Companies do not actually give you a formula and a recipe book for their medications or say how they were derived. It would be, I think, impossible to detect whether or to know if a product has been derived or has benefited from research using embryo clones. As I mentioned, the Prime Minister has indicated that the Customs regulations act of 1958 will be amended in order to ban for a 12-month period the export of human embryos in order for us to have time to look at it. Maybe this would be a more appropriate place to have a discussion about the importation of products from embryo clones.