The majority voted against an amendment moved by Liberal MP Michael Ferguson, which means that it was rejected.
The amendment omits and replaces section 23A of Schedule 1, which at first reading was:
"A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person uses precursor cells taken from a human embryo or a human fetus, intending to create a human embryo, or intentionally develops an embryo so created; and
(b) the person engages in activities mentioned in paragraph (a) without being authorised by a licence, and the person knows or is reckless as to that fact.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years."
Mr Ferguson proposed to replace that section to rule out any possibility of using precursor cells from a human embryo or a human fetus to create a human embryo.(Read Mr Ferguson's explanation of his amendment and the related debate here. )
Due to the sensitive subject matter of this bill, the parties have agreed to allow it to be a free vote.(Read more about what a free vote is in our FAQ Section. More information about the decision to have a free vote on this bill is available on ABC News here. )
Background to the bill
The bill was introduced to amend the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002. The amendments will permit certain human embryo research under licence but retain existing prohibitions on human reproductive cloning and other assisted reproductive technology activities.(Read information about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum and bills digest, here. ) For example, it proposes to allow for therapeutic cloning.(Read more about therapeutic cloning here. )
The amendments are based on recommendations by the Lockhart Review.(Read more about the Lockhart Review and the federal government’s response in the bills digest.)