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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 April 2008) . . Page.. 1072 ..


of this. It does not actually apply to the creation of human hybrid embryos, because it actually refers specifically to excess assisted reproductive technology embryos. In fact, the thing that the minister likes to hang her hat on does not actually provide a protection in this case.

The small protections that exist in clause 30 (4) (b) are simply that someone or a group of people have to make a determination of the likelihood of significant advances. We are leaving not to legislators but to people in conference rooms in the National Health and Medical Research Council the decisions about whether or not we create particular forms of life. There are some things that are reasonably done by boards and communities and there are some decisions that are reasonably made by legislators who are accountable to the people out there. The people out there would expect us to make those decisions and not to pass them off to a group of well-meaning scientists in a boardroom in the National Health and Medical Research Council. This is where we draw the line, and this is where we should be saying that this legislation goes too far. If we only need to keep these hybrid embryos for 24 hours, why does the legislation say 14 days, and when will it move, as Mr Mulcahy has asked, from 14 days to some other period?

Dr Foskey says that she is opposed to the creation of human hybrid embryos. She should be opposed to it simpliciter, whether it is for one hour, 24 hours, 14 days, the lot. The Greens as an organisation are opposed to a whole range of genetic engineering in terms of food crops and things like that. They talk about “frankenfood” and they talk about the fact that they do not want to have fish DNA put into tomatoes to make them have a longer shelf life, and I think that a lot of people have concerns about those sorts of things. So if they would use their vote to oppose that sort of legislation, why would they not use their vote to oppose the sort of legislation that deals with the human genome? If it is all right to protect the tomato, why do we not protect the human being and the human genome in the same way?

Question put:

That amendments Nos 2 and 4 be agreed to.

Ayes 5

Noes 8

Mrs Burke

Mr Smyth

Mr Barr

Ms Gallagher

Mrs Dunne

Mr Berry

Mr Gentleman

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Corbell

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Pratt

Dr Foskey

Ms MacDonald

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendments negatived.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clauses 8 to 12, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clauses 13 to 15, by leave, taken together and agreed to.


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