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Thursday, 22 August 1985
Page: 235

Senator HARRADINE(10.23) —I associate myself with the remarks of previous speakers and give the motion my full support. I think that everything that needs to be said has just about been said. I will be interested to read Senator Peter Baume's incorporated material in Hansard tomorrow. I believe that the world owes a great debt to those Jewish people who suffered in nazi concentration camps. I believe that the world owes a great debt in particular to those people on whom-as Senator Peter Baume indicated-the objectives of scientists such as Mengele were directed. Those were the innocent Jewish people on whom the most degrading experiments were undertaken. I believe that the world owes those people a debt of gratitude because as a result of the Nuremberg trials and the information that came from those there has been established the Nuremberg Code. It was the Nuremberg Code which established certain principles concerning experimentation on human subjects.

The judges at the Nuremberg trials all agreed that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts in relation to experiments on human beings. They outlined principles for researchers to follow to ensure the voluntary consent of subjects who had both the legal capacity to consent and the free power of choice. They determined that the subject must be fully informed of the nature, duration and purpose of the experiment in which he was to participate. He must be fully informed of the means and method by which the experiment was to be conducted and the inconveniences and hazards that might reasonably be expected to occur. They said that experiments with human subjects should be undertaken only when the results were unattainable by other means and that they should be based on prior animal husbandry experimentation.

The judges insisted on a number of other principles. The overall concept was that experimentation on human subjects should be therapeutic, that is to say, the experiment should be for the benefit of the individual human subject on whom the experiment was to be undertaken. Of course, certain of those experiments gave a great deal of information to the human race about the effect, for example, of x-rays and the effect of freezing on humans. That was used by the counsel as a defence for a number of those people at the Nuremberg trials. It was suggested that that information was to add to the knowledge of the human race. However the dignity of the human subject far outweighs any such knowledge that can be gained. Indeed, as counsel for Eichman suggested at the Nuremberg trials, if Eichman had not done the experiments somebody else in the nazi regime would have done so. That claim, that excuse, was not accepted by the Nuremberg judges. If these principles arising from the sufferings of Jewish people in concentration camps are applied to every human subject, no matter how small, how despised or how impotent, civilisation will have learned from the past and the deaths of these people will not have been in vain.