Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (14 September) . .
Thursday, 14 September 2017
The Assembly met at 10 am.
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.03), by leave: I present the following paper:
Petition—out of order
Petition which does not conform with the standing orders—Pill testing—Mr Rattenbury (540 signatures).
I am pleased to table in the Assembly today a petition from a total of 1,034 Canberrans who are calling for a government-supported pill testing trial in the ACT and seek leave to make a few comments in relation to the petition.
MR RATTENBURY: As I just noted, the petition calls for an evidence-based approach to drug law reform by supporting a government-supported pill testing trial here in the ACT. With more than 1,000 Canberrans signing it, I think this is a significant contribution to this public debate.
Public health organisations and experts have long told us that there is overwhelming evidence to support pill testing as an effective harm minimisation measure which can keep young people safe. I acknowledge that this is a complex issue, but with evidence from experts and the health and law enforcement sectors on side there is no reason to delay this important harm minimisation approach.
The reality is that most drug takers are unaware of the origin and chemical make-up of what they put into their body. For example, the MDMA content in an ecstasy tablet can vary widely. Even more concerning is that many pills contain a range of substances from tranquilisers to amphetamines, meaning that many users are effectively playing Russian roulette every time they take something.
Pill testing is already routine at festivals in several countries, with successful results. In Austria two-thirds of drug users who are informed by a government-funded pill testing service of potential toxic harms decided not to consume their drugs and told their friends not to either. In Australia 76 per cent of participants in a hypothetical study reported they would not take a pill with unknown substances in it.