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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1563..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

meetings and to negotiate with ministers about their appearance before the committee. The table of hearings has already been established and it is nice to see it noted in the sitting pattern for the Assembly for this year. The hearings start in the weeks beginning 17 and 24 May. I had thought that we might have got to this somewhat earlier in the day. I have simply omitted "4 pm"and substituted "9 pm"to give members adequate time to put in their bids as it is almost 6.30 pm.

Motion agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 6.25 to 8 pm.

Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 30 March 2004, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the opposition) (8.00): The Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill 2004 is a very important bill. I start by thanking the minister for withdrawing the previous bill and splitting it into the Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill and the Human Embryo (Research) Bill. I know that, as a combined bill, parts of it would have been objected to by some members and parts of it would have been objected to by all members. This follows what occurred in the federal parliament recently. Their bill was split to allow the discussion of what are two different, although related, subjects.

According to the minister's presentation speech the Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill forms the ACT component of the nationally consistent scheme to prevent human cloning and regulate research involving excess human embryos agreed to at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on 5 April 2002. I would like to make it clear to the House that all members of the Liberal Party have a conscience vote on this issue. I personally think that the notion of human cloning is absolutely abhorrent. It is something we need to be very vigilant about, given that countries like Korea have recently claimed to have achieved human cloning and that some firms around the world also claim to have achieved the result of causing a human being to be cloned.

The dilemma is: where does this technology stop and what does it do? What respect does it have for the resulting child? What respect does it have for the woman who carries such a child? All the ethical questions-where is life, where does it start, and who controls it-are brought into focus by this legislation. The Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill sets out the conditions that would be prohibited. If you look at divisions 2.1 and 2.2, you see that the bill lists a number of offences-creating a human embryo clone, placing a human embryo clone in the body of a human or an animal and importing or exporting human embryo clones and the transfer of genetic material that also goes with the transference of animal material.

The dilemma for me is simply the question of the sanctity of life and, "Where does life begin?"I believe that life should be created for the purpose of the achievement of the potential of that life. I do not believe it should be created for any other purpose. I certainly do not believe that life should be created for experimentation or research. For me the coming together of those two cells-the sperm and the egg-to create the new


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