Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5456 ..
But the Greens will not be deterred by these ideological roadblocks. Recreational drug use will never be without risk and there will always be sections of society with a moral stance against drugs who will continue to campaign for prohibition. But ultimately the evidence has shown that pill testing is an effective preventative measure, helping to curb the consumption of harmful chemicals and encouraging young people to take control of their activities and make informed decisions.
I believe that our community understands the benefits of this approach. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the STA-SAFE Coalition which spent months negotiating and organising with the ACT government, festival organisers and others to get a pill testing trial off the ground. It is because of this kind of strong grassroots advocacy that community attitudes have shifted and there is strong support for a pill testing trial here in Canberra, as demonstrated by the petition I tabled in this place a number of months ago.
Pill testing should be implemented in Canberra because it works and because harm reduction is essential in preventing the adverse consequences of drug use. I believe we will soon see pill testing here in the ACT and our festivals and events will be better and safer for it. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.57): The Canberra Liberals do not support this motion. Let me be very clear what this is about: it is essentially about the agenda of the ACT Greens to have Canberra as the drug dealing, pill popping capital of Australia. If you do not believe me because you think that is an exaggeration, let me explain to you, members, exactly what is going on here.
Mr Rattenbury’s current motion as it appears on the notice paper calls on the government to explore further opportunities to trial pill testing in the ACT. That sounds very benign, doesn’t it? That sounds very benign, but the motion that was circulated, the original version of the motion, said “explore further opportunities to trial pill testing in the ACT, including at music festivals, dance parties and late-night venues”. What Mr Rattenbury actually wanted, until he stitched up a change that was acceptable to the Labor Party, was to have this at dance parties. Perhaps any dance party that you put on at your home or at a town hall will have pill testing there. Pill testing at every nightclub, every night venue, every pub in this town. That is what Mr Rattenbury wants.
If you have this pill testing on every street corner, as Mr Rattenbury wants, or at homes if you are having a dance party at your place, the reality is that this is going to be a Mecca for every drug dealer to come down to this place, come down to Canberra, and get their pills tested so that they can flog their product as they see fit.
It has the ACT logo on it. No doubt the coat of arms will go on it. It will have “Tested by ACT government.” It will be endorsed, whether it be by the government or by the government-endorsed third party that they have said they are going to let do it. This is what Mr Rattenbury wants. This is his original motion.