Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Bioethics Centre critical of Beattie ploy to undermine conscience vote

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is under fire for refusing to split a bill on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

The bill, which mirrors federal legislation banning human cloning but allows scientists to use embryos in research, is expected to be debated in State Parliament in the coming week. It allows research on surplus IVF embryos created prior to April last year.

A spokeswoman for Mr Beattie said he was adamant the bill would not be split and he was determined it would pass as a single bill. She said MPs would be allowed a conscience vote.

But Ray Campbell, Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre in Brisbane Archdiocese, has questioned whether this would be a true conscience vote if the bill was not split to allow those opposed to human cloning to also oppose the use of human embryos in research.

Mr Campbell told The Catholic Leader that was the reason for the bill being split for the Federal Parliament - "in order for the vote to truly reflect the conscience of the members of parliament".

Mr Beattie told Caucus that MPs could exercise a conscience vote on the whole bill and then on various parts of the bill when Parliament debated individual clauses in committee.

Member for Indooroopilly, Ronan Lee, a Labor MP who is a Catholic, will move an amendment to split the bill.

Catholic Leader

New stem cell battle looms (20/2/03)

6 Mar 2003