Drug testing trial for welfare recipients

Labor has listened to expert advice from health professionals and will oppose the Government’s proposed drug testing trial.

We have heard the serious concerns of health experts including: The Australian Medical Association (AMA); The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP); St Vincent’s Health and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia.

Health experts and community organisations have said clearly that they oppose the Turnbull Government’s ill-conceived drug testing trial and that it simply won’t work.

The Australian Medical Association has stated this measure is “mean and stigmatising”.

The Coalition has failed to provide any evidence to support the establishment of this trial, nor have they revealed the cost.

Drug testing of income support recipients has been tried in several countries and there is no evidence to suggest it is effective.

Labor is worried that vulnerable Australians may be pushed into poverty, homelessness and potentially crime as a result of this proposed trial.

In August the Government announced that Canterbury-Bankstown in Sydney’s southwest as the first of three locations for this trail.

This trial will put pressure on an already overstretched system with long waiting lists, displacing people seeking help.

I believe in a society that protects and invests in people, and that compassion and policy based upon evidence, rather than punitive and belittling measures is the best way to help those struggling with substance abuse and unemployment.

Labor does not believe that vulnerable Australians should be demonised.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me, I appreciate your advocacy on this issue.


Pat Conroy MP

Member for Shortland


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