There have been calls for pill testing after five deaths this summer at music festivals. Picture: David Swif
There have been calls for pill testing after five deaths this summer at music festivals. Picture: David Swif

Greens MP’s drug-taking confession backfires

A POLITICAL stunt by a drug-taking Greens MP has backfired as opposition to pill testing hardens with both Coalition and Labor politicians cautioning against the idea.

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann on Monday confessed to taking MDMA occasionally since her 20s and refused to rule out using drugs during her time in politics.

It prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reveal he had never taken drugs while Labor leader Bill Shorten admitted to having "done something" - smoking cannabis - in his uni days.

Despite Mr Shorten's admission, the federal Opposition leader's language against pill testing solidified as he expressed his criticism of giving a "tick to someone breaking the law".

 

Cate Faehrmann has become one of The Greens newest members of the Legislative Assembly.
Cate Faehrmann has become one of The Greens newest members of the Legislative Assembly.

"You can't. These are illicit drugs. They are wrong. People may think they are going to have fun, but they are actually very dangerous," Mr Shorten said.

"I speak to the paramedics and the health experts, they say that you can't just rely on pill testing because it can only pick up certain warning signs and not other warning signs."

Mr Shorten acknowledged it was a "vexed issue", adding that he was happy to work with the PM and the NSW government, which has ruled out pill testing.

The stance flags a potential split ­between federal Labor and the NSW Opposition which has backtracked on initial concerns to announce pill testing would be considered at a drug summit if elected.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed he has never taken drugs. Picture: Brendan Radke
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed he has never taken drugs. Picture: Brendan Radke

 

While Bill Shorten admitted he had smoked cannabis in his uni days. Picture: Warren Lynam
While Bill Shorten admitted he had smoked cannabis in his uni days. Picture: Warren Lynam


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday morning stood by her government's zero-tolerance approach.

She said pill testing could not guarantee the drug would not kill someone even if it was pure MDMA.

Responding to the summer spate of five deaths in as many months at music festivals, Ms Faehrmann, 48, said young people wanted politicians to "get real" about illegal drugs and to accept evidence that treating illegal drugs as a health issue, not a criminal one, worked.

She told The Daily Telegraph people were "shaking their heads" after hearing the Premier say she has never taken drugs "asking what planet is she living on".

Ms Faehrmann said there was only one occasion where she was worried about having an overdose and refused to reveal details about her dealer.

"I've been very sensible and am always around friends and not doing several pills at once and not drinking alcohol and drinking the right quantity but I just know that because it is passed down from older friends," she said.

Senior NSW minister Andrew Constance slammed Ms Faehrmann for claiming "it's all right for her to take an ecstasy tablet".

The Transport Minister said: "The hard, cold reality is there is no evidence that pill testing will reduce the level of overdoses. The Greens MP today has been grossly irresponsible with her words, because she needs to understand that every person is different and when they take ecstasy, people die."



WHAT'S ON: Seven things to do this weekend

premium_icon WHAT'S ON: Seven things to do this weekend

Are you looking for ways to keep the family entertained?

'Time to move on': Civic manager recalls business's decline

premium_icon 'Time to move on': Civic manager recalls business's decline

'On a Saturday night you'd have heaps of people through here.'