As I was heading into Parliament House this morning, I heard some coverage on ABC radio mentioning a briefing that was being held today with a leading researcher into adult stem cells. I am keen to hear as much factual information as possible to inform how I vote in the Senate on the upcoming legislation dealing with the regulation of embryonic stem cell research, so I was pleased to hear that this briefing was being held.
I was less pleased when I discovered it was a closed briefing for Government MPs only. I fail to see how it helps the cause of those who oppose change to hold closed meetings with people who are reportedly providing information that backs up their case. This is doubly so when most of the public arguments against change being put forward by some Liberal MPs seem to be either using the issue as a proxy for opposing abortion (a valid view to argue, but not a perspective I share in regard to stem cells or I wouldn’t have voted for the first legislation in 2002), or else running blatantly dishonest scare campaigns about the possibility of human/animal genetic hybrids being unleashed on the world.
I voted in favour of the first legislation regulating stem cell research back in 2002, and I have found the Lockhart Review to be reasonably convincing. However, I do accept there can be counter-arguments as to why it is not necessary to make further legislative changes at the moment, and I would like to hear some more of those before I make a final decision on how to vote on any legislation.
Apart from a relatively well reasoned article by Fr Frank Brennan, and possibly this one by Katrina George (although I got the impression it was overstating its case a bit), I haven’t seen too much around that actually goes to the specifics of SCNT, which is what the legislation will be about, or deals with the issues in an intellectually honest way. If any reader is aware of any, feel free to let me know.