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Taxpayers money should go to ethical research.

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TAXPAYERS MONEY SHOULD GO TO ETHICAL RESEARCH Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine today called on the Prime Minister to ensure stem cell research funds use only ethically obtained stem cells.

A strong supporter of adult stem cell research, Senator Harradine said, “Many case histories detailed in the scientific literature show the effectiveness of stem cells derived, for example, from cord blood, tissues, bone marrow or organs of patients - child or adult.

“This research raises no ethical problems.

“On the other hand, it is grossly unethical to kill five-day-old human embryos in order to harvest their stem cells. It adds insult to injury to make taxpayers pay for this unethical research - especially before Parliament has even considered the issue.

“The Prime Minister has been poorly advised. Education Science and Technology Minister, Dr Brendan Nelson, was a prominent adviser to the Prime Minister on this matter. Dr Nelson recently appointed as his Scientific Policy Adviser Dr Thomas Barlow. In an article in the Financial Times, (“Time to Send in the Clones”, September 1, 2001), Dr Barlow considers cloning no more serious than “having sex”. “Not to beat about the bush, is there any honest reason why we should treat it more seriously, say, than having sex?”, he writes.

“It was significant that this morning ON Radio 2SM, Professor Trounson did not deny that he wanted the door left open for the cloning of human embryos. He merely stated that he would observe whatever legal regime existed.

“As CEO of the new Centre will Dr Trounson decide he needs more embryos for his experiments and get the Prime Minister to agree to letting him exploit not only the current frozen generation but future generations of embryos? Where is the independent regulatory authority to review the use of every embryo? Will couples donating embryos be able to consent or withhold or withdraw consent for their embryos being used for particular research at the new Centre?”

Senator Harradine said that the decision rewards Professor Trounson who got around the law in Victoria by importing human embryonic stem cells from Singapore.

Issued: Hobart, 31 May 2002 Contact: Senator Brian Harradine, 0418127623