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Question: Pill Testing

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : My question is to the Premier. Premier, this summer again has seen a number of drug overdoses at music festivals across Victoria. Young people are dying. Premier, you have repeatedly relied on advice from Victoria Police as the reason for your refusal to implement pill testing, so my question is: have you sought advice from the health department or any other health agency in relation to pill testing, and if so, what was their advice?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier) : I thank the member for Prahran for his question. He obviously has a genuine interest in these matters, and I am not for a moment calling that into question, but it is not just a matter of Victoria Police having had a longstanding and consistent position; common sense, I think, dictates a longstanding and consistent position. There is no safe level at which these substances can be taken. That is a fact. And beyond that, even these substances which might be termed ‘pure’ can be lethal. That is a fact of this matter. Whilst I do not criticise those who have a different view to what common sense and logic tells me ought be my view, the position of the government will not be changing, and it is the government and members of the government who determine the government’s position. We get advice from many different sources, and we are confident that the position we have taken is the right position.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) : Well, common sense would also state that many of these substances are sold as one thing but are actually something that is much more dangerous, and in fact a number of organisations have come out in support of pill testing. So I ask the Premier: have you received any advice from the health department or any other health agency that is supportive of a trial of pill testing in Victoria?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier): The member for Prahran is asking me whether I have received advice that is contrary to my position, and I do not believe so. But no doubt—

Ms Sandell interjected.

Mr ANDREWS: Well, I am answering the question asked. If the member for Melbourne wanted to ask the question, then she could have asked the question. The point is there may be many different views; there may be many different opinions. I as the leader of the government am making it, to you and all Victorians, abundantly clear what the position of the government is. It happens to accord with the view of Victoria Police, and in my determination it happens to accord with what common sense dictates. There is no safe level at which you can consume these substances, and even so-called ‘pure’ forms of these substances can and have been lethal.