Liberal MP splits with premier on pill testing
A Liberal MP has been caught out advertising pill testing, directly contradicting Premier Gladys Berejiklian's firm rejection of the policy.
As the issue firms as a key election matter, The Daily Telegraph can reveal MP and former mayor Bruce Notley-Smith has placed a paid advertisement in his local paper canvasing voter opinion on the issue.
And in his own constituent newsletter, he has promoted pill testing as "neither new nor radical" and "part of harm reduction interventions" in other countries.
The position is in direct contradiction of Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has staunchly opposed pill testing since September in the face of wide criticism.
Mr Notley-Smith holds his electorate of Coogee with a wafer thin 2.9 per cent margin and Liberal sources have become increasingly worried about holding the seat since Michael Daley - who holds the neighbouring seat of Maroubra - took the leadership.
The advertisement, in the December edition of the local Beast magazine is headlined "what are your thoughts on pill testing?"
It quotes Professor Alison Ritter from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre saying "negative pill test results would deter a majority of people from consuming drugs and spur them to warn their friends".
He also quotes a second expert who says pill testing could "send a contradictory message about the risks".
However, Mr Notley-Smith's newsletter takes an even stronger position, saying governments telling people to "just say no" to drugs isn't working.
"I believe we urgently need to have an open, honest, uncomfortable debate about youth drug taking and government policy. I want your opinion on trialling pill testing in NSW."
Mr Notley-Smith has been asked for comment.