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Position paper finds “serious ethical and legal problems” in drug testing income support recipients

 Information obtained by The Australian Greens shows that in 2013 The Australian National Council for Drugs stated specifically:

"There is no evidence that drug testing welfare beneficiaries will have any positive effects for those individuals or for society, and some evidence indicating such a practive could have high social and economic costs. In addition, there would be serious ethical and legal problems in implementing such a program in Australia. Drug testing of welfare beneficiaries ought not to be considered." 

 Australian Greens spokesperson for Community Services, Senator Rachel Siewert said today:

 “The Government either knew and ignored advice on the negative impact of drug testing, or did not even look at the 2013 expert paper developed on home soil when developing this policy. 

“Government is obviously willing to bypass ethical and legal concerns to once again attack the most vulnerable people in our communities. They have conceded in estimates that they may have to get an exemption from Disability Discrimination Act to roll out the program.

“These vulnerable people need support services and counselling, not humiliation and poverty.

“Australians deserve more from their leaders than questionable policy that does nothing but appease their conservative base. Once again the Government has put politics before people.

Australian Greens Leader and former drug and alcohol doctor, Senator Richard Di Natale said:

“The Australian National Council on Drugs was established to provide independent advice to Government and they made it clear that drug testing welfare recipients is unethical and harmful. Like in many other policy areas the government has ignored the experts and chosen to put politics before people.

“When it comes to drug use, we should be talking about harm minimisation, saving lives and giving people every opportunity to live without addiction. 

“This is a new low, even for this Government, and the Greens will fight it at every turn.” 

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