ACT Greens: Statement on pill testing trial

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

The ACT Greens today say the Canberra Liberals have serious questions to answer when it comes to pill testing and harm minimisation in the Territory.

In a letter dated 28 September 2017, former Canberra Liberals leader Jeremy Hanson MLA wrote to his Federal Liberal counterparts Greg Hunt and Fiona Nash. Mr Hanson suggests that, in his view, the trial is ‘questionable on legal grounds’ and speaks to Federal Minister Hunt’s own opposition to pill testing.


“The Government has undertaken very detailed risk assessments in evaluating the trial,” Mr Rattenbury said.


“Rather than contribute constructively to democratic processes in the Territory, the Canberra Liberals have instead used their back channels to undermine the ACT Government—calling up their mates on the Hill to have them interfere in an ACT Government approved program.


“Spilt Milk could yet become the safest music festival in Australia. The action of the Canberra Liberals means this festival is now more dangerous than would be the case if a pill testing trial went ahead.


“The Canberra Liberal’s campaign to undermine and sabotage pill testing in the ACT is based purely on ideology and not on evidence.”


The STA-SAFE Consortium say that the evidence, the documentation, the volunteers, the funding, the equipment and the training were all either in place or being put in place to pilot this significant public health initiative.


“No one from the NCA, the promoter or anywhere else has yet been able to explain what additional documents are required. However, STA-SAFE have committed to providing any further documents as quickly as possible,” Mr Rattenbury said.


Pill testing has been shown to be an effective harm minimisation measure. Research shows that pill-testing helps young people avoid the dangers of unknown and contaminated drugs, and provides an opportunity for drugs to be disposed of before lives are put at risk.


“The evidence is clear that the war on drugs has failed and we need a new health-based approach focussed on harm minimisation,” Mr Rattenbury added.