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Friday, 23 August 1985
Page: 292


Senator HARRADINE —Is the Acting Attorney-General aware of the widespread concern among the academic community, and indeed among the community generally, at the establishment of a company IVF Australia Ltd, to expose human reproductive technology to commercial exploitation? Is it not a fact that this company seeks to gain monopoly control over certain aspects of this and related technologies for sale under lucrative royalty arrangements in the United States, whose Government has long since imposed a ban on human embryo experimentation for funding purposes? Given the responsibilities of the Commonwealth on patents and related questions, what action does the Government propose to take in face of this commercial exploitation? Further, I ask what action the Attorney proposes to take on the report of the Family Law Council, tabled in Parliament yesterday, which was based on the findings of its sub-committee which inquired into the matter and in relation to which Council Chairman, Mr Justice Fogarty, said to Mr Bowen:

The Council supports the recommendations which would prohibit the production of human embryos for the sole purpose of research/experimentation or the use of spare human embryos for that purpose . . .


Senator GARETH EVANS —As to the latter part of the question, I am advised that the Attorney-General has asked his Department to consult with other departments as a matter of priority to assist in the formulation of the Government's response to the report-a response which clearly has not yet been formulated. We understand that the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is also considering certain issues relating to reproductive technology. It is the Government's wish to take into account the views of that Committee before making any final policy decisions. As to the first part of Senator Harradine's question, I will simply have to take it on notice and seek a reply to him at the earliest opportunity.