Bleats

There Are New Penalties For NSW Festivals Because This Pill-Testing Blame Won't Shift Itself

Does ending all music festivals in NSW count as a way to make them safer for young people?

Gladys Berejiklian has responded to the spate of music deaths with an announcement that… um, there’ll be more red tape for festival organisers as of March 1.

Hoping to hold a festival? OK: on top of the existing regulations now there will be new obligations including chill out zones and water stations – things which most festivals already do – and the need to get sign off from medical authorities, the police, paramedics and the government. Which, again, already happens as a matter of course under the existing consitions.

What is new, however, is the penalties.

Under the new laws those applying for a permit would need to show adequate “chill out zones” and supply of water – things which festivals currently do, in our experience. On top of this promoters will face fines of up to $110,000 or potentially serve jail time in the event of drug-related injuries or fatalities.

And if you’re thinking “OK, can we not incorporate pill testing into this suite of policies?” then be advised that NOVA’s men of the people Fitzy and Wippa are way ahead of you:

PILL TESTING debate: Fitzy & Gladys Berejiklian

Things got a bit heated in the studio when Gladys Berejiklian and Fitzy discussed the pill-testing debate.

Posted by Fitzy & Wippa on Sunday, 20 January 2019

But will the new laws work? The general consensus appears to be “not without a lot more detail.”

GOAT spoke to several current and former festival promoters who had mixed opinions on the efficacy of pill testing but all agreed that the sudden implementation of vague new laws with no industry consultation was not the way to go.

One echoed a recent interview by Stereosonic promoter Richie McNeill who insisted “It needs real lengthy robust discussion, not quick-fix policy,” adding that it would make it far more difficult to hold events in NSW.

Still, if we get rid of all public events that might attract young people, then young people won’t take drugs at them! It’s win-win, right?

It'll Cost One Billion Dollars To Make Elon Musk Burrow Through The Blue Mountains Like A Mighty Wombat

Look, who hasn't wanted to live their life as that most noble of marsupials?

Hot tip for Australian politicians: can we please stop Tweeting your over-the-top infrastructure ideas at Elon Musk?

Yes, former SA premier Hay Weatherill did that with the mighty lithium ion battery in Jamestown, which is the reason why the state is now almost entirely powered by renewable energy, with zero blackouts during the recent heatwave. But now it’s becoming A Thing.

Jeremy Buckingham was, until recently, a NSW MP for the Greens before quitting over consistently-denied sexual assault allegations and is now an independent. He’s also the MP who threw up while visiting the dead fish graveyard that the Darling River has become.

And now he’s tweeting his big ideas for reducing Western Sydney’s congestion problems at Elon Musk and getting quotes.

Now, this is a version of the prototype loop system Musk has built in LA and relies on a lot of yet-to-be realised technology – mountain-piercing digging machines, electric commuter vehicles – to reduce congestion. And given the cost of Westconnex was initially $10 billion and has since almost doubled in cost blowouts, that does sound like a bargain.

That said, the plan still involves digging the whole way through the Blue Mountains, which is slightly less practical than writing one’s name on the Moon with a superlaser. But you can’t accuse Buckingham of being unambitious!

And sure, cynics would say that Buckingham will never be called upon to make this happen, but if the NSW election is a close run thing maybe the government will have to agree to the Elon Musk Hyper-Wombat Burrow Scheme if it wants to pass anything else.

Even Kochie Is In Favour Of Pill Testing So Clearly Middle Australia Has Spoken And Hello NSW Election

When That Bloke From The TV What Your Nan Likes is advocating pill testing as a way to save young lives, you know our leaders are paddling against the tide of public opinion.

The recent spate of drug-related deaths at music festivals has split Australia into two camps: those who think that pill testing and other harm minimisation policies need to be brought into play, and those who think that the long held policy of yelling YOU YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULDN’T TAKE DRUGS is about to start working despite half a century of evidence to the contrary.

This has become a big issue in NSW, in which five people have died in the last four months – most recently 19 year old Alex Ross-King – which other states have not experienced despite, in most cases, holding the exact same touring festivals. So the question “what is NSW doing which is killing young people in a way that other states are not?” seems like a good one to ask right about now.

And thus the nation awoke to the weird sight of David “Kochie” Koch on Sunrise talking sense to NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian about how pill testing has been a demonstrable success overseas, that the local trial in the ACT removed dangerous drugs and that whatever it is that the NSW government is currently doing is clearly not working

Berejiklian’s nah-let’s-not-do-that argument boiled down to that pill testing might stop people from taking tainted drugs but doesn’t stop being overdosing on all that deadly, deadly ecstasy. And to be fair, the fact that seatbelts don’t prevent all road fatalities is why we decided not to even have them in cars anymore oh hold on no we didn’t that’s insane.

The premier, who added that she’s never ever taken drugs in her life, explained that “The best message we can send to them is don’t take these drugs.”

That’s the best message, huh? And we’re limited to message-sending as a response to kids dying? Cool, good to know!

Kochie wasn’t having a bar of it though, pointing out that young people take drugs, calling her a hypocrite for adopting harm minimisation approaches to other drugs via safe injecting rooms and pointing out that at the very least pill testing stops young people ingesting deadly poison.

And sure, this is just a stoush on morning television – but it’s genuinely significant because if anyone represents the suburban middle-class Australian parent – the stereotypical Liberal voter, in fact – it’s Kochie. No-one would accuse him of being a dangerously Marxist rabble rouser massing morning television viewer to storm the Winter Palace.

Take note, Gladys. When you’ve lost Kochie, you’ve lost your heartland.

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