Hawthorn, Victoria Australia (PressExposure) November 07, 2006 -- Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said today she strongly supported allowing therapeutic cloning because science offers great hope.
'I have a primary, basic view that science offers great hope to humanity - to all of us, to the planet,' Senator Vanstone said today.
'It's all very well for some people to say "you're offering false hope", if they're not in the position of someone who hasn't much left but hope.
'I think it's callous and incalculably cruel to those in desperate need of hope to cut that hope into ribbons, especially when there is no way of knowing whether or not it is false hope.
'Sure, scientists will go down some blind alleys - it will be frustrating - but there will also be the pathways that people go down that will be the right ones.'
Senator Vanstone also said Australian scientists were at the forefront of this technology and that to hold them back would be to hold Australia back.
'We can legislate to limit our opportunities and say to the Australian scientists, "you'll be locked out of this if you stay in Australia", and we can risk losing them.
'But if they leave and the research is not done in Australia then I think Australia is held back from all the opportunities that might come.'
Senator Vanstone said the Australian Parliament had already allowed the use of eggs fertilised by semen - spare IVF eggs that are frozen - in research.
'The logic is lost on me as to why we would not then allow the use of eggs that are not fertilised by semen, but which have some material removed and then replaced with some other material in-vitro.
'A human embryo at three days is a cluster of about 14 cells on a pinhead. It is human tissue, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination a human.
'There are different views on when life begins, but no religion has the right to seek to have its view legislated.
'I expect people who oppose this Bill on religious or moral grounds to understand in return that those who support the Bill do so with equal regard to ethical and moral considerations.'