CANBERRA, August 30, 2002 ( – Australia's Parliament has voted unanimously to ban all human cloning—but, significantly, also voted 89-43 to split off the sections dealing with embryonic stem cell research, which can now be voted on separately in two weeks time.

The portion of the bill passed by MPs yesterday bans cloning of a human embryo for whatever purpose, including so-called “therapeutic cloning”—Australian pro-lifers call it “destructive cloning”—that would allow cloning of an embryo solely to provide stem cells.

Australia's top proponent of human embryo research, Prof. Alan Trounson, was this week forced to admit having misled lawmakers with a video about research on rats, which he falsely claimed had involved embryonic cells. After the fraud was exposed, Prime Minister John Howard vowed to review Trounson's new federal funding because of “inaccurate representation.” Howard warned scientists: “It is incumbent on people who hold very respected scientific positions in this country to be very careful about the claims they make.”

The federal government is currently controlled by a centre-right coalition of Liberals and National Party members. But the premiers of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales—who are positioned to the left of their federal counterpart—have said they would try to legalize embryonic stem cell research in Australia's three most populous states if a federal ban prevails.

To read previous LifeSite coverage of the stem-cell fraud see: 


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