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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1788 ..

I would also note that of course there is a debate about this issue, as there should be. It is an important way that we progress progressive policy in the country. I would note that as recently as 1 May the Tasmanian AMA supported calls for pill testing in Australia. At the time of the announcement last year that the government would allow a pill testing trial to go ahead, the local AMA supported the trial. The Capital Health Network supported the trial.

I note Mr Hanson’s comments about cherrypicking and would ask him to reflect on his own cherrypicking. There has been widespread support for this trial in Australia, significant interest from other jurisdictions. I look forward to sharing whatever evidence and background we can provide from the ACT to other jurisdictions to support their consideration of pill testing. This is just the start. It was a successful one but I look forward to this. It is the same as previous harm reduction measures such as a needle and syringe exchange program, which was extremely controversial but is now considered an essential part of harm reduction in drug policy right across the country.

Once again we see the Canberra Liberals are absent on matters of important public health policy. Their leader has stated in this place they have no position on a women’s health policy and women’s health matters that are important to many Canberra women. It appears they have no health policy in relation to harm reduction in drug policy, which is disappointing but not at all surprising.

I welcome the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the ACT’s achievements, a reflection of the long history of the ACT to support sound, evidence-based, progressive policy advocated across party lines, supported by public health and medical professionals. And we look forward to further opportunities to advance progressive health policy in the ACT.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (12.35): I rise today following Mr Hanson—and I am very happy I get to follow him because I quite enjoyed listening to his speech because his speech said a lot but did not actually have any substance to it—who cherrypicked statements from Labor identities, health associations, but ultimately failed in his most important duty in this place; that is, to legislate. Mr Hanson is full of criticism but he has no ideas. Mr Hanson is opposed to pill testing. That is okay.

But what is your solution? From the looks of it, from what I heard today, you do not have a solution. You simply hope the problem will go away, or what I actually suspect will occur is that you will do what Liberals across the country do, which is use law and order, law enforcement, to further perpetuate the war on drugs, ultimately a failed policy. I am very glad I got to listen to your speech, Mr Hanson, because I found it, on the whole, completely lacking.

That is not entirely why I rose to speak today. I rose today to speak about the Groovin the Moo festival last month. I think the festival was a great success. The live music was wonderful, from all accounts. You could hear it on the north side of Canberra. But it also featured the first pill testing trial here in Australia. These trials save lives. There were 85 pills tested and two of them contained deadly or dangerous ingredients. I will say it again: trials like this save lives.

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