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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1565..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

and altering the genome of an embryo in any way that the alteration would be heritable by descendants. This latter prohibition means, as I understand it, that no changes to the gametes are to be made, although I note that our understanding of "inheritance of characteristics"is not perfect. It is also illegal to commercially trade in human embryos, eggs or sperm, although reasonable reimbursement of expenses is permitted.

The bill also includes a review clause. This is exactly the same as the federal review clause which, unfortunately, did not include the excellent amendments proposed by the Greens, which would have seen a comprehensive look at the national stem cell bank as arranged in the UK. I do not think there is much point attempting to insert a similar requirement in the ACT review clause. The point is to have a national bank and this must be done nationally.

MS DUNDAS (8.08): I will be supporting the Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill today, as are all other members of the Assembly, I understand. The Democrats have a longstanding interest in biotechnology issues and a specific interest in the issue of human reproductive cloning. We have called for comprehensive bans on human reproductive cloning since the announcement of the creation of Dolly, the sheep. We believe that human reproductive cloning is unethical and unacceptable. It is a view that is virtually unanimously accepted throughout the community.

This legislation attracted a great deal of debate in the federal parliament two years ago-particularly the federal Research Involving Human Embryos Bill-and that is something we will debating later this evening. I want to make a few comments about the legislative framework in which this bill sits. This legislation is designed to fit into a national scheme for the prohibition of human cloning. Versions of this legislation have been, or will be, introduced into all state and territory parliaments.

The Commonwealth legislation has broad application across Australia, particularly in relation to corporations, commerce and trade. There may not be Commonwealth coverage of individuals in the states, as the Commonwealth may not have jurisdiction under the constitution. However, we are a territory so the Commonwealth has clear power to legislate for the ACT. Therefore the federal laws clearly have full effect in this jurisdiction. So while we are introducing and debating this bill for completeness and, more importantly, so that the territory can enforce the laws within our own jurisdiction passing this bill will not, in effect, prevent anything that is not already prevented by Commonwealth law. I think this has implications for the next debate we will have.

I would like to thank Senator Natasha Stott Despoja for her assistance on this bill and commend the large amount of work she has done on this issue in her time as a senator for the Australian Democrats. The Human Cloning (Prohibition) Bill 2004 makes it an offence under ACT law to do a number of things, including to create a human embryo clone, to place a human embryo clone in the body of a human or the body of an animal, to import or export a human embryo clone or to create or develop a human embryo other than by fertilisation.

The bill bans somatic cell nuclear transfer, embryo splitting, parthenogenesis or any other technology that does not involve the fertilisation of ova by human sperm. The bill also prohibits creating a human embryo for a purpose other than achieving pregnancy-it specifically bans creating embryos just for research. It bans creating or developing a


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