Outrage over ‘disorderly’ Mardi Gras strip searches as MP criticizes cops for attacking WordPride revelers with sniffer dogs
- NSW Greens MP condemns strip searches at Mardi Gras
- Cate Faehrmann Says They Cause Drug-Related Risk Behavior
A New South Wales Green MP used a public health debate ahead of the election to criticize the use of sniffer dogs and strip searches at Mardi Gras and officially announce the party’s plan to legalize vaping.
Cate Faehrmann said witnessing people in line at Mardi Gras being led away and strip-searched showed how “disorderly” the government’s priorities were toward meaningful public health reform.
“The government has refused to listen to experts in the forensic investigation of deaths at music festivals…and act on key recommendations that will reduce harm and save lives,” he said on Monday.
“All this makes young people feel forced to use all their drugs at once.”
The comments came at a forum organized by the Australian New South Wales Public Health Association, which saw the participation of Ms Faehrmann along with outgoing health minister Brad Hazzard, opposition health spokesman Ryan Park and independent candidate for Lane Cove Victoria Davidson.
A NSW Greens MP says police strip searches and sniffer dogs risk triggering harmful drug behavior to avoid getting caught
Ms. Faehrmann revealed a plan by her party to legalize nicotine vaping for people over the age of 18 to help reduce harm associated with the devices.
Hazzard, who will retire from politics after the election, called vaping “abhorrent” and said there were no easy answers to reduce vaping in the community.
“Many people don’t realize that they are effectively smoking the chemicals in antifreeze with about 500 different flavors,” he said.
Ms Davidson said there was a path to legal access to e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, but there were other methods already approved by the TGA that should be prioritised.
All parties advocated for preventive health measures to reduce pressure on hospitals and other services.
“The lawsuits in the health sector and hospitals cannot continue as they are,” said Mr Park.
Ms Davidson noted that Australia had been an international leader in public health campaigns, including campaigns for skin cancer prevention, tobacco control, cancer screening and safe driving measures, and should continue to be so.
In principle, all the candidates opposed advertising junk food to young people in public places like public transportation, but Hazzard said regulation must be done at the national level.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann (pictured) said the New South Wales government has failed to learn the lessons of drug deaths at music festivals.
Members of the Sydney Swans soccer club and LA Rams cheerleaders walk in the Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday.
“There have been many discussions with state and territory health ministers and we all agree that this should be at the national level,” he said.
Ms Faehrmann congratulated the coalition government for pushing for a cashless gaming card in New South Wales and called on Labor to commit to a similar strategy.
Park said Labor had developed a variety of opposition initiatives, including a 12-month trial of a cashless game card.
‘I don’t want to sit here and vandalize pubs and clubs. But I do recognize the damage that problem gambling is causing,” she said.
“I think what we’ve done is a sensible first step down the road.”
Mr. Hazzard noted that the club industry had a positive impact on many communities, saying a “balancing act” had to be done to reduce revenue from slot machines.