Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 1002 ..
and for the people that I speak to, the people that I deal with in my electorate, they are appalled. They are repulsed at the notion of mixing three or four or five lots of genetic material to make a human embryo. Because of that I have moved this amendment today to keep faith with those people in my community who do not want to see these sorts of measures brought in, do not want to see this research and do not see that there is any benefit to the advancement of human kind from this research.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (5.50): I will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s amendments. I think they really do go to the heart of what we are actually debating here today and the legislation that has just been agreed to by this Assembly in principle.
If you were to accept Mrs Dunne’s amendments, you would take away exactly a key element of this bill. I accept that that is done because of Mrs Dunne’s personal view on this matter. But the whole reason for this legislation is to allow certain types of research to occur, one of which is research into genetic conditions, treatments or possible cures. In order for that to occur, there are some situations where more than two people’s genetic material would be used in such research.
To prohibit that in all circumstances really does, in a sense, gut the legislation on one significant aspect. I accept Mrs Dunne’s view on this, but I do not accept the view that this is what the common man or woman thinks—God forbid. I accept that Mrs Dunne’s constituency feels that way. We are all here because we represent different constituencies. That is how we get elected; that is how we get the number of votes, because we appeal to a certain group within the community.
I will not stand here and accept that Mrs Dunne’s view is the view of the broader community or the common man or woman. To me, that is offensive. The group that I represent, my constituency—not all of them, but large parts of them—are very supportive of this legislation, extremely supportive of this legislation.
So I will not stand here and listen to the rubbish that you know what everyone in Canberra thinks and the common person does not support this, that this is repulsive and that this legislation is abhorrent to them, because it is simply not true. By all means stand up and represent your constituency and represent what you feel about this, but do not underestimate the interest and the support that research of this type has in our community, right here in the ACT. I am representing that constituency and it is as valid as everyone else’s.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.52): I will be brief. Mrs Dunne has outlined exactly where she is intending and needs to go with this. I believe there is a need to be able to do what Mrs Dunne wants to do here. As Mrs Dunne has said earlier today, we were relying on the judgements of those on the committee. And I think human frailties exist.
The notion the minister is putting is that the common man does not hold the view that Mrs Dunne or the opposition hold. I do not see how she can say that about people, once they know. I think that is the key. Mrs Dunne said earlier today that there has been little to no openness about what we were debating in this place today. I did not see the media release from the minister saying we were going to debate it. We could