THE Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has called on the Federal Government to impose a national prohibition on human cloning.
The call came in a March 28 submission to an inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Canberra. The submission was made on the bishops’ behalf by Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth.
A submission was also made by the Church’s Queensland Bioethics Centre.
Mr Campbell attended the House of Representatives inquiry, which was based on an Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) report. It recommended that all states and territories have laws governing human embryo research and cloning.
The inquiry coincided with the Queensland Government’s release of a draft code of conduct governing biotechnology.
Mr Campbell said he had strong reservations about the Queensland code.
Paragraph 25 of the draft code commits biotechnology organisations to agreeing that “we will not conduct research into the cloning of entire human beings, but understand that research may continue into the cloning of genes and cells for specific medical purposes … where such research has been approved by the relevant human research ethics committee”.
But Mr Campbell said this was a non-enforceable code.
He said legislation would not endanger genuine research in Queensland, would make clear to scientists which direction they can work in and ensure the state would not attract unscrupulous people seeking to escape the constraints of legislation in other states.