As the state’s politicians continue to debate whether or not the life-saving drug analysis measures should be made legal, Leigh Carmichael has issued a call to all political parties to “stop playing politics with young Tasmanian lives”.
“Everyone wants to see a reduction in the use of illegal drugs,” he says in a statement. “We know drug use happens, particularly in environments like music festivals, so we must do what we can to reduce the risk of harm or death.
“We do not condone or seek to normalise illicit drug use, and we don’t wish to undermine the important work of Tasmania Police.”
He continues: “Whether it’s through legislation, or in a pilot trial like the ACT government supported earlier this year, pill testing is a harm minimisation approach that must be adopted urgently.
“We have a duty of care to our audience, and saving lives is more important than any political game around this issue.”
Yesterday, a move to establish a legal framework to enable a pill testing trial for Tasmanian festivals failed in state parliament.
Greens justice spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff presented the bill, but it was not supported by the labor party, despite them passing their own motion to support pill testing two years ago.
Labor justice spokeswoman Ella Haddad said they voted against the bill because the Greens failed to take consultation before presenting it to parliament.
Meanwhile, as The Advocate reports, Attorney-General Elise Archer said the bill’s exemption from criminal charges for people who tested drugs went against state and national laws.
Nevertheless, an Australian-first pill testing trial took place at the Canberra leg of Groovin The Moo in April.
While the landmark trial came back with some disturbing details about some of the 83 drugs tested, the upshot of those results was that many of the punters who owned the bad drugs decided to bin them rather than risk their lives, causing many commentators to hail the whole thing a big success.
In August, a $100,000 fundraiser was also launched to help support the roll out of pill testing programs at more Australian music festivals, following the successful Groovin The Moo trial.