It’s a new year and, just maybe, a new dawn for advocates of pill testing at music festivals after NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian appeared to have a change of heart on the issue.

The state Liberal leader is stanchly opposed to drug checking and, in the light of two deaths at the Defqon.1 festival last September, she toughened her already-hardline position.

That was then. When a young punter died on the New Year’s Eve weekend after ingesting an “unknown substance” at Lost Paradise festival, Berejiklian gave an unexpected response.

“If there was a way in which we could ensure that lives were saved through pill testing we would consider it – but there is no evidence provided to the government on that,” Berejiklian said, while reiterating that pill testing gave drug users “a false sense of security.”

pill testing
Pill testing

The news media jumped on her comments as evidence that Berejiklian’s mind was now open to the argument that enabling party-goers to test their tablets before dropping could reduce the harm and, possibly, save lives.

She’s not the only one. NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley said that pill testing “should not be off the table” and former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer has urged state politicians to have a rethink.