SYDNEY—Australia's position on the upcoming United Nations (UN) vote on human cloning is being clouded by a tight federal election contest and the need to coordinate state and national legislation.

The UN is trying to formulate a global convention on cloning, a subject the General Assembly attempted to tackle in 2003 but postponed for a year after intense debate. That vote is now tentatively scheduled for October 21–22.

In the lead-up to the ballot, the world's science academies have been urged by the InterAcademy Panel (IAP) to intensify their efforts to lobby their respective governments in support of an international treaty that does not ban cell nuclear replacement for therapeutic purposes.

The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) is one of the 67 signatories to the IAP proposal. However, the renewed lobbying efforts coincided with an election being called in Australia for October 9. The conservative Coalition government is locked in...

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