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Biotechnology Australia should stop acting as a lobbyist.

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Biotechnology Australia should stop acting as a lobbyist

Senator Brian Harradine today called on Biotechnology Australia to stop acting as a lobbyist for the embryo research industry. Biotechnology Australia today issued a media release claiming public support for ethically contentious practices including destructive human embryo research. A public servant from the agency will be speaking on this topic today at the International Genetics Congress in Melbourne.

“Biotechnology Australia is following the classic lobbyist tactics of conducting polls and releasing selected results of those polls to push its own agenda in promoting destructive human embryo research”, Senator Harradine said today.

“It is not the role of a Commonwealth Government agency to use taxpayer’s funds to promote ethically questionable practices to the public.

“The full survey questions and results were not released, so it is difficult to evaluate the accuracy of the poll or the leading nature of the questions to gauge what the public actually thinks.

“But the accuracy of their surveys is called into question by a current Internet poll on the Biotechnology Australia website. The poll throws doubt over the agency’s grasp of the ethically significant issues surrounding human cloning. The agency’s poll question states: ‘The American Medical Association has endorsed human cloning for purely research purposes (not to generate new life). Should we do the same in Australia?’

“The question does not acknowledge that all human cloning, whether for research or reproduction, creates a new human life. People cannot give useful answers to a leading and dishonest question which makes some human cloning sound harmless.

“Biotechnology Australia reports to five Commonwealth ministers, which means it is effectively responsible to none. Ministers Ian Macfarlane, Kay Patterson, Warren Truss, Brendan Nelson and David Kemp should pull the agency into line and stop it being a lobbyist for industry interests.”

7 July 2003

Senator Brian Harradine, Tel. 03 6234 5122