Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 985 ..
and necessary and will remain so for many years. This bill will give researchers the scope and certainty to develop embryonic stem cell lines to lead to even greater advances in this field. It is my view that both avenues of research should be pursued simultaneously to maximise our chances of discoveries to cure diseases that continue to kill thousands of people every year.
The passage of the Human Cloning and Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2007 will secure our participation in this national scheme. It will ensure consistency of decision making across Australia and prevent unlicensed and unregulated embryo research being conducted in the ACT.
For me, this bill strikes the right balance between allowing responsible and ethical research that enjoys strong community support within a strictly regulated framework and explicitly prohibiting practices that are abhorrent to the overwhelming majority of Australians. It is my hope that the work that will be permitted through this bill will lead to advancements in our ability to combat diseases that currently cause a great deal of suffering and death to many Australians. I will be supporting the legislation.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (4.35): I propose to speak very briefly in relation to the Human Cloning and Embryo Research Amendment Bill to signal that I too support the bill. I accept the very difficult issues that this bill and the proposals contained within it represent for many of us.
All parties within the Assembly regard this as an issue in relation to which they will respect positions of individual conscience. That is a reflection, of course, of the sensitivity, seriousness and, indeed, complexity of it and, for many, the difficulties that are presented by proposals such as are contained within this legislation.
The legislation seeks to establish a nationally consistent scheme for the regulation of activities involving the use of assisted reproductive technology embryos, other embryos and human eggs. The bill is required by an intergovernmental agreement to which the territory is a party, and I was very much part and parcel of discussions within COAG in relation to that intergovernmental agreement and the arrangements that were agreed among all jurisdictions within Australia in relation to stem cell research. This legislation will align ACT legislation with commonwealth legislation that has been amended following extensive community consultation and review. This bill is consistent with agreements that were delivered through COAG.
I wanted really to do no more than to indicate that I essentially have views that have been reflected in the presentation my colleague Mr Corbell has just made and it is perhaps unnecessary for me to repeat them. I agree entirely with the presentation that Mr Corbell has just made. It represents my views. My decision to support this bill is essentially as reflected by Mr Corbell in his speech just now. I wanted, just for the record, to indicate that. I believe that the research that is made possible through the amendments which we debate today does present enormous potential.
I understand the arguments that others will make about some of the risks that they believe research involving embryos, human eggs and the combination of possibilities