Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 936 ..
foetuses at any stage of their development. I think any scientific approach that dillydallies around and experiments with that particular function is unethical; I think it is dishonest; I think it is an attack on our humanity, as I was outlining earlier. In any case, science has advanced rapidly and there are many more areas of the human body where stem cells can be harvested to address the myriad medical conditions that beset our community. In fact, more than one speaker here today has said—and I echo this point emphatically—that science is rapidly moving past this piece of legislation.
I am disappointed, as are a number of other members in this chamber, that the Stanhope government appears to have just simply rolled over in terms of what the commonwealth legislation has produced. I am disappointed that there seems to be a carte blanche acceptance of the commonwealth model by the Stanhope government. I suppose that is easier, and I suppose they are playing to certain agendas. It should take a good hard look at the commonwealth act and take from that act some provisions that would be far more applicable and which would cover all that needs to be covered. The government simply has not done that.
By the way, the resounding lack of voice and presence on the part of the government benches shows that they do not seem to be particularly confident about or keen on this legislation. They are certainly not putting their weight behind it. They are not speaking to it. They are pushing here Stanhope legislation, which is probably a poor imitation of a flawed commonwealth model, and they are not debating the issues.
In all conscience I cannot support the government’s legislation. I understand Mrs Dunne is going to be tabling some amendments later. I will have a look at those when they are tabled, and I will probably have a lot more to say after I hear Mrs Dunne move them and speak to them. I will have a bit of a think about those, but a cursory glance at Mrs Dunne’s amendments would indicate that there are some sensible ideas there. Whether those amendments are going to be powerful enough to rectify what is government legislation with a few gaps in it, I do not know. Let us see what happens when Mrs Dunne gets to her feet. I therefore do not support the government’s legislation as it currently stands.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.50): Mr Speaker, if this legislation ever got to a court, the judges and the community would go to the speech made by the minister to look at the case made by the minister to have such legislation in place. Given the enormity of the subject that we talk about, the speech made by the minister when this bill was presented to the Assembly is scant. It is basically “an agreement was reached at a national level, and we are just following that”. When you go through the minister’s two-and-a-bit-page speech on an issue as enormous as this, you see that the contradictions that are contained in the speech are quite interesting. The last paragraph bar one in the speech says:
This bill does, however, continue to absolutely prohibit the development of embryos beyond 14 days and the implantation of human embryo clones in the body of a woman for the purposes of reproduction.
The question has to be: if it is okay to create these embryos, why not let them go past 14 days? The answer is that because such huge ethical concerns still exist then it should not occur. The minister, in another paragraph said that the Human Cloning and