There are two Commonwealth Acts providing a regulatory framework to prohibit certain unacceptable practices including human cloning, and to regulate uses of excess human embryos created through assisted reproductive technology.

The Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 and the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 were passed by Parliament in December 2002. These Acts establish a regulatory framework to prohibit certain unacceptable practices including human cloning, and to regulate uses of excess human embryos created through assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Commonwealth Legislation

The Commonwealth legislation was developed in response to community concerns, including ethical concerns, about scientific developments in relation to human reproduction and the use of human embryos.

The legislation was amended in 2006 as a result of the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Act 2006 (Amendment Act).  The amendments came into effect in June 2007. The Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 was renamed the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002.

The Customs Regulations relate to the import or export of stem cells derived from human embryo clones.  More information can be found on the Import and Export of Cell Lines from Human Embryo Clones page.

There have been two reviews of the Commonwealth legislation (see below).

State and Territory Legislation

On 5 April 2002, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that the Australian Government and and state and territory governments would introduce nationally consistent legislation to ban human cloning and other unacceptable practices and to regulate research involving excess ART embryos.  The agreement was renewed on 13 April 2007.

To find more information about state and territory legislation, follow the links below.

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory

  • Legislation is being drafted in the Northern Territory.

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Reviews of Human Cloning and Human Embryo Research Legislation 

2005 - The Lockhart Review

The reviews of the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 in 2005 were a statutory requirement of the Acts.

The Legislation Review Committee website is maintained as an historical record of the main documentation for the independent reviews and can be accessed via the National Library of Australia website

Review Reports

Media Release

Following passage of the Amendment Act, and consideration of related recommendations arising out of the Lockhart Review, NHMRC made changes to the following guidelines and related administrative processes:

2010 - The Heerey Review

The Amendment Act in 2006 included a requirement for this review. Information about the review and its recommendations is provided in the report of the independent review.