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Thread: Australia: New laws allowing research on embryonic stem cells are expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives, with the controversial bill scheduled to be considered early this afternoon.

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    Australia: New laws allowing research on embryonic stem cells are expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives, with the controversial bill scheduled to be considered early this afternoon.

    http://afr.com/australia/2002/09/16/FFX1AQLA46D.html

    War on Iraq set to dominate parliamentary debate
    Sep 16
    Chelsey Martin

    Federal Parliament's jammed legislative agenda is likely to be pushed even further behind schedule this week, with debate over Australia's involvement in a war on Iraq set to dominate the fortnight of sittings.

    New laws allowing research on embryonic stem cells are expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives, with the controversial bill scheduled to be considered early this afternoon.

    But other sensitive proposals - including laws beefing up ASIO's powers to combat terrorism and changes to media ownership laws - scheduled for later in the week may have to be deferred.

    Despite Prime Minister John Howard's request that the embryonic stem-cell bill be considered without further amendment after it was split from the proposal to ban human cloning, Liberal backbencher Teresa Gambaro will be pushing to protect the right of IVF clinics to use excess embryos for training and quality control.

    It remains unclear whether Ms Gambaro's amendments will be successful, but the legislation is expected to pass the lower house despite renewed controversy over evidence from the leading supporter of embryonic stem-cell research, Alan Trounson.

    New workplace relations laws making unions and employer organisations more accountable are also due to be introduced late today and are expected to pass through both chambers with the support of the Labor Party.

    The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, is due to return from New York tomorrow to address Parliament on the Iraq situation.

    A debate on Australia's role in any military conflict is expected to follow, delaying other legislative business. advertisement
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    The Senate should also see some sparks this week, with renewed resistance from the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party to a government proposal to strengthen central party control over millions of dollars of election funding at the expense of the states.

    Scheduled for debate this morning, the changes to the Electoral Act will also face amendment by the Australian Greens, who want to introduce new rules requiring political parties to hand back donations to any companies that go bust.

    Other legislation before the Senate this week includes moves to outlaw pattern bargaining and to introduce secret ballots for protected action.

  2. #2
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...55E421,00.html

    Stem cells, Iraq on agenda
    By Shane Wright
    September 15, 2002

    FEDERAL Parliament resumes this week with debate over embryonic stem cell research and a possible war in Iraq to dominate proceedings.
    The stem cell debate, in which MPs have a conscience vote, is likely to become more intense following controversy over claims by a key proponent.

    Many MPs have seen a video shown by Alan Trounson to MPs of a deformed rat that had recovered the use of its legs after supposedly being treated with stem cells.

    But it was discovered the rat had been treated with germ cells from an aborted foetuses.

    Labor frontbencher Kevin Rudd said today the Trounson video had been a major factor for many MPs to back stem cell research.



    "That's pretty impressive for those who don't understand the science - only to discover afterwards it wasn't actually embryonic stem cells that did the job," he told Channel 10.

    The House of Representatives has passed a law banning human cloning, leaving MPs completely focused on stem cell research.

    Despite the video, it still appears there is enough support in the House for the proposal to move to the Senate where the result is likely to be closer.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer is due to address Parliament on Tuesday setting out Iraq's breaches of United Nations resolutions.

    It follows pressure on the Government to set out the case against Iraq before any commitment of troops to a possible invasion force.

    Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson gave an insight into the Government's feelings on the issue today, saying war may be inevitable against President Saddam Hussein.

    "I don't want my children to have to go to war, none of you do either, no Australians do," he said.

    "Yet we must recognise that sometimes the old adage that a stitch in time can save nine, is right."

    But Opposition Leader Simon Crean said Mr Downer must set out the government's evidence against Iraq.

    "Evidence must be presented, the cast must be made, and all action must be collective and international," he said.

    The debate over paid maternity leave will continue, with a Senate report into the issue due to be tabled on Wednesday.

    Australian Democrats' spokeswoman on the status of women Natasha Stott Despoja backed Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward who said paid maternity leave would be cheaper than the government's baby bonus.

    "A government-funded scheme for 14 weeks at the minimum wage ... would cost less than the Government's ill-targeted baby bonus," she said.

    Labor is also likely to target the Government's proposed sugar levy to fund its $150 million rescue package for the ailing industry.

    The Government will continue its efforts to force more accountability from unions, while debate will resume on proposals to reform the privileges given to former politicians.

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