Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1813 ..
I am also informed by ACT Policing that they strongly support any strategy that supports harm minimisation, educates and reduces risks to the community. As ACT Policing have said, even if one person decides not to consume an illicit substance because of the availability of pill testing then the initiative should be considered a success.
The ACT government is committed to harm minimisation in line with the national drug strategy. Pill testing, as a component of harm reduction measures, is a sensible approach to limiting the dangers of illicit drug use at ACT music festivals. Harm minimisation is the right approach and one I hope every member in this place supports.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (3.40), in reply: In closing the debate, I want to thank members for their various contributions to the debate today.
Mr Hanson: Pleasure.
MR RATTENBURY: Let me turn to Mr Hanson’s remarks, with that cue from Mr Hanson. I think that Mr Hanson talks very much about the world we wish we lived in. I think this policy is about the world we actually live in, because the reality is that people are taking drugs, whether we like it or not. I do not particularly like it. In respect of these kinds of tablets, someone—I think it might have been Mr Hanson—earlier made reference to some dodgy bloke making them in his bathtub. I cannot think of anything worse than seeing people taking those kind of risks. But people do; they do and the reality is that we need to make sure that people do not die as a result of these choices or end up with serious medical conditions.
Mr Hanson cited a number of medical groups who opposed the testing. He certainly highlighted differing views on these issues. It was interesting in the couple of days after the successful trial here in Canberra that we saw the Tasmanian AMA urging pill testing in Tasmania. They have a number of significant music festivals down there.
I think this reflects that whilst people may have had views in the past, they have also seen the reality of the success of this and are actually willing to take on board new experiences and learn from things that have worked, and that have worked well.
Similarly, Mr Hanson cited somebody from the Ambulance Service. I would point to the fact that the ACT Ambulance Service spoke very positively of this trial at Groovin the Moo and identified the harm minimisation components of it.
Mr Hanson also quoted a couple of young people from Victoria who said, “Yes, this will be great.” He spoke to the fact that they said it would encourage them. I think that reflects the fact they had actually not yet had the experience. When people do, there is a serious conversation that takes place that highlights the risks of taking these kind of tablets, that actually questions people about why they are taking them and these sorts of things.
These sorts of perceptions that the testing somehow encourages pill taking do not reflect the reality. They come from a place and from people who either do not want to