Features September 18, 2018

“It’s a weak and easy way out” – Music industry slams Berejiklian Government over Defqon.1 response

Former Staff Writer
“It’s a weak and easy way out” – Music industry slams Berejiklian Government over Defqon.1 response

Figures in the music industry have been vitriolic in the past few days over Premier Gladys Berejiklian vow to cancel following the drug-related deaths at the festival over the weekend.

Berejiklian also reignited the debate by commenting, “Anyone who advocates pill-testing is giving the green light to drugs.

“There is no such thing as a safe drug and unfortunately when young people think there is, it has tragic consequences.”

AMIN Chair  took to social media to question the motives for Berejiklian’s hard stance against pill testing.

Speaking to TMN, Edmondson called out Berejiklian’s comments as a cowardly political move.

“It’s a weak and easy way out, pointing the finger of blame at a music festival that has no real control over the behaviour of their patrons is much easier than risking your political credibility to take a course of action that has scientific evidence behind it and would actually save lives,” said Edmondson.

co-founder Tyson Koh echoed Edmondson’s comment with an impassioned rebuff  posted yesterday to Twitter, calling out the Berejiklian Government for being, “Out of touch and grasping at straws.”

Koh then goes on to advocate for a harm minimisation approach, which includes pill testing, reminding followers that the opportunity to vote out the current government is approaching.

Yesterday, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) threw their support behind pill testing with AMA president Tony Bartone telling Sky News, “[Pill testing is] “an opportunity to try and inform … about the dangerous consequences and try to get an opportunity to give them education and access to rehabilitation in terms of trying to reduce their drug dependency.”

Edmondson maintains the advocation from reputable medical organisations will not affect the Government’s course of action.

“Populist, fear-based politics that reject science and expertise in favour of moral grandstanding are currently in vogue,” Edmondson said.

“In this context, it becomes irrelevant whether the AMA or anyone else who is an expert on such matters supports pill testing because politicians like the NSW Premier are primarily concerned with the appearance of moral authority and appealing to a conservative base.”

The music industry has been outwardly vocal about the benefits of harm minimisation at music festivals, especially following the successful pill testing trial at this year’s Groovin’ The Moo Canberra.

Yet, following Berejiklian’s vow to cancel Defqon.1 Edmondson is adamant that there’s too much impetus put on festivals and the industry to protect patrons when governments hold all the power.

“Music festivals can only encourage people to make safe decisions about what they put in their bodies. ‘Don’t do drugs’ is a very reasonable message for music festivals to send.

“I’m cautious of providing advice on what music festivals can do to prevent further drug deaths because they have very little capacity to influence the behaviour of patrons.

“The NSW Government, on the other hand, is entirely capable of legislating in favour of pill-testing. That’s where fingers should be pointing.”

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