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Drug Laws - Motion

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2023

I speak on behalf of The Greens to support the motion as amended. I say from the outset that the extraordinary contribution from the Coalition continues its failed war on drugs and head-in-the-sand approach. It completely ignores the fact that many millions of people in this country take illegal drugs every year. As long as the Coalition continues to lie about the nature and extent of drug use in this country, people will continue to die. The kids who do this on the weekend listen to those statements about there being no safe level of illicit drug use and say, "That is not true. We are not going to listen to you, because our experience is different." That is the issue.

We have to acknowledge the nature and extent of drug use, as well as what happens with drug dogs. I support the motion. Let us hope that at the upcoming drug summit we have a good, detailed conversation about the evidence around drug dogs. The evidence from the Deputy State Coroner that looked into those six deaths found that at least one of those deaths was a result of drug dogs at the gate. That kid, Alex Ross-King, who was going to take the drugs anyway, saw the dog and took all of her drugs at once. Her mother, Jen Ross‑King, wants drug dogs gone. That is the evidence from the Deputy State Coroner.

The ice inquiry commissioner said that young people see dogs and take all of their drugs at once. They don't not take the drugs. That is the issue. Or they go into the festival to buy drugs to avoid dogs. The police presence at festivals like Knockout Outdoor and Defqon.1 is outrageous. There are dogs all through them. There are lines of police harassing young people. People are in the toilets taking four or five pills at once. Young people are getting into trouble because they cannot talk about the fact that they should not take that much MDMA at once—that it is really dangerous and will potentially kill them. They cannot do it safely. The head-in-the-sand approach of the Coalition is literally killing people. I look forward to the drug summit and the evidence. Let us end the war on drugs.




(1)That this House sends its condolences to the families and friends of the two young men who died of suspected drug overdoses at the Sydney Knockout Music Festival held in Western Sydney on Saturday 30 September 2023.

(2)That this House notes that:

(a)since 2014, the death toll due to unintended drug overdoses has overtaken the road toll every year;

(b)before these tragic deaths, NSW Health issued an urgent warning about high-dose ecstasy tablets which the Minister for Health, Minister for Regional Health, and Minister for the Illawarra and the South Coast, Ryan Park, called "particularly harmful";

(c)at the conclusion of an inquest in 2019 that investigated the drug-related deaths of six young people at New South Wales music festivals, the Deputy State Coroner, Harriet Grahame, said there was a compelling case for pill testing and urged a trial as soon as possible;

(d)the Deputy State Coroner called for an end to the use of drug detection dogs saying punitive policing operations has inherent dangers and few if any benefits; and

(e)these recommendations by the Deputy State Coroner are also contained in the 109 recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug "Ice" which reported in March 2020 after 47 days of hearings and at a cost of $10.85 million.

(3)That this House calls on the Government to consider the following at its upcoming Drug Summit:

(a)the use of drug dogs and other punitive policing measures at music festivals;

(b)pill testing at all festivals; and

(c)the decriminalisation of the use and possession of small quantities of prohibited drugs. Music festivals are popular with young adults. The reality is that people will use and experiment with drugs, including when they attend festivals, and these unregulated drugs can harm or kill. Two men in their early twenties died of suspected drug overdoses after attending the recent Knockout music festival. It was one of three festivals in Sydney on the same weekend. Police made 80 drug-related arrests and 20 people were taken to hospital, five of whom were admitted to the intensive care unit.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2023



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