WODONGA politician Tim Quilty “absolutely” supports testing of pills at music festivals, but fellow North East Upper House MP Tania Maxwell has rejected the idea.
Pressure on governments to back testing of illegal drugs has risen in the wake of festival patrons dying in Victoria and NSW in the past week.
Liberal Democrat Mr Quilty said “absolutely I’m totally in favour of it”.
“There’s no benefit in not having it, but let the festivals pay for it, I don’t think taxpayers should pay for it,” he said.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party’s Ms Maxwell was reluctant to approve pill testing.
“I’m not convinced one way or another,” she said.
“One part of me says if this is going to save lives then I think pill testing has its advantages, on the other hand I don’t condone it because you’re still taking illegal drugs.
“I would probably lean more towards the no, I don’t think it’s something we should be bringing in in this state.”
Her view is at odds with her party’s leader Senator Hinch who responded on Twitter to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s opposition to testing.
“Gladys.i (sic) was opposed to the drug testing rooms in King’s Cross and Richmond for years. And against festival pill-testing. I was wrong. They have saved lives. Open your ears and eyes. I beg you. And I’ve never even taken an ecstasy pill,” he wrote last month.
Ms Maxwell said she was concerned about what happened to pills after testing and the legal ramifications and logistics of the process.
Gladys.i was opposed to the drug testing rooms in King’s Cross and Richmond for years. And against festival pill-testing. I was wrong. They have saved lives. Open your ears and eyes. I beg you. And I’ve never even taken an ecstasy pill,— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) December 12, 2018
She would like a major advertising warning campaign and more education.
Mr Quilty said he believed “we should legalise some of the pills” and if pill testing occurred “we’re saving lives and if we don’t we’re killing people”.
Victoria’s Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said earlier this week that there were no plans for festival pill testing in the state.
“Advice from Victoria Police tells us it can give people a false, and potentially fatal, sense of security about illicit drugs,” he said.
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