Australia

Refusal to test pills 'stupid': Leyonhjelm

Leyonhjelm missed out on a state upper house spot after the final preferences were distributed on Monday afternoon. Source: AAP

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm says NSW should introduce pill testing at music festivals - but not at taxpayers' expense.

Gladys Berejiklian is putting votes before young people's lives by opposing pill testing at festivals, according to Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

The former federal senator who's now running for the NSW upper house argues the premier's insistence that revellers should "Just say No" to drugs is a "stupid idea".

"It is based on disapproval ... if you allow pill testing somehow or other you are relaxing that disapproval, that's not true," Mr Leyonhjelm told AAP.

"Just because you disapprove of something does not mean you should prohibit it."

Five young people died after taking drugs at NSW festivals between September 2018 and January 2019 prompting a public outcry for pill testing.

But Ms Berejiklian has consistently refused to consider drug testing at festivals.

The premier set up a task force to investigate recent festival deaths but limited its terms of reference so the experts could look at pill testing.

A coronial inquiry is also investigating the five deaths.

Mr Leyonhjelm, who resigned from the Senate earlier this month after six years in Canberra, believes pill testing should be available at festivals - but not at taxpayers' expense.

"If they're going to make that choice, the least you can do is not prevent them from finding out if what they're taking is safe," he said.

"I disapprove of taking pills and yet my view is ultimately that's the choice of the individuals involved and refusing to allow pill testing is not going to stop people from making that choice."

The libertarian would prefer young people to smoke marijuana which he'll campaign to legalise if elected to state parliament on March 23.

"They're not going to get into fights, they're not going to die, you know that they will at worst go to sleep, have a happy time."

Opposition leader Michael Daley has said he's open to exploring the option of pill testing if Labor wins the upcoming election.

Ms Berejiklian has been contacted for comment. The Liberal Democrats support the legalisation of all drugs.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch