THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
TUESDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2019
SUBJECTS: Pill testing.
JOURNALIST: So the draft recommendations have been released, basically we think, are recommending the roll-out of pill testing at festivals. Is this something that the New South Wales Government should consider?
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING: I haven't have had a chance to read the Coroner's draft recommendations, so I've only seen what's been reported in the media. But there's a couple of things I'd say. The first is; it's never safe to take drugs. Something made in a bikie's bathroom isn't going to be good for you. But we should listen to the experts about how we can best keep people safe. Of course policing is an important element of this. We should be supporting the police in their efforts to bust up drug syndicates. No question about that. Ice in particular is causing untold misery in our suburbs and in our country towns. But we also need to look at health interventions. In my electorate we've got the medically supervised injecting centre. There is no question that it has saved lives. So what the states and territories need to do now is have a sober, sensible look at the evidence that's available, the evidence that's available in ACT from its trials, and from around the world.
JOURNALIST: And what do you make of critics who say that pill testing could encourage kids to be buying drugs knowing that perhaps it’s a slightly safer way of doing it?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think we need to proceed cautiously in these areas, to listen to all of these views, in favour and against, and to make a sober assessment of the available evidence.
JOURNALIST: And just finally, another of these leaked recommendations is for police to wind back their drug detection operations. Would that be of concern to you?
PLIBERSEK: I think we have to support the police in their efforts to disrupt the drug syndicates and trade in illicit drugs. There's no question that ice in particular is devastating our communities. I certainly wouldn't be undermining police efforts, but we need to look at what goes with those policing efforts to keep people safe. That does mean better health interventions and that includes, of course, rehab. What a tragedy it is when someone who's struggling with a drug addiction says "I'm ready to quit" and they're told "OK, come back in six weeks or three months we might have a bed for you then."
JOURNALIST: Alright, great. Thank you.