Page 3947 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 September 2018

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There has recently been an effort to repeal the Andrews bill, which was passed last century. Unfortunately, this was not supported by other members of the Senate. All the Greens, of course, voted for the repeal of the Andrews bill. I understand that some in the Labor Party and some in the Liberal Party did. But it should not be an issue like this.

The people of the ACT are equal to the people of the rest of Australia. Of course, this is the view of the majority of the ACT Legislative Assembly. We recently voted to formally express our grievances to the Senate through a remonstrance, which I understand is something that is very infrequently done. It is a process of setting out a grievance to a higher authority. It respectfully requested that senators reflect on their vote denying citizens of the Australian Capital Territory their democratic rights.

There were 36 federal senators who opposed the rights of territorians to make their own decisions. As Ms Cheyne pointed out, the margin between passing this motion and keeping the Andrews bill was only two votes. That is very sad. What is also very sad is that someone who was previously a member of this Assembly, Senator Zed Seselja, did not vote for the rights of the people of the ACT. He did not vote to express his confidence in the ability of the ACT Legislative Assembly to make reasonable decisions on the basis of what is best for the people of the ACT.

I am very surprised. He was in the Assembly. He should know that we are entirely capable of representing the views of the majority of the ACT. They may or may not align with his personal views, but this is democracy. I would also say that if he felt that it was not possible for him to vote for territorians, his own constituents, to have their own say in their laws, he at least could have simply said to his fellow senators that he felt unable to vote. He could have abstained from this. I am really unsure why he did this. I am equally unsure why Senator Seselja did not vote for equality in marriage, despite the fact that his constituents overwhelmingly did.

I provide another example of where being in the Australian Capital Territory does not serve the people of the ACT. Over the weekend we heard that two young people died at the Defqon.1 Festival in Sydney. Members may remember that recently Australia’s first pill testing trial occurred here in the ACT. It clearly demonstrated that it is a viable service that can help save lives.

At the Groovin the Moo festival last year two potentially fatal substances were discovered in pills. Medical professionals were able to inform the young people before consuming these pills and we understand that these pills were not consumed on this basis. All of us here were young once and some of us here still are young. But we all know that young people will experiment and that it does not necessarily make a huge amount of difference what they are told. However, what we do know is that young people will listen to things that make sense to them. Pill testing is evidence-led policy for the real world. It is done extensively overseas; we have now tried it in the ACT.

The Spilt Milk Festival is coming up soon. It would be safer if pill testing were offered. We believe that if pill testing services were offered at Spilt Milk, as they were

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