OPINION: Some drug users face a testing time ahead

In the weeks since the government announced it planned to drug test the unemployed, I’d been waiting for some evidence to justify their move.

I thought to myself that, surely, this policy is based on actual studies that showed those on Newstart allowances are more prone to drug use.

Because, surely the federal Liberal government wouldn’t just bring in such a policy because they hold a stereotype that those out of work are sitting at home all day pulling bongs and playing computer games.

Well, it turns out that appears to be  exactly what is driving this policy – ideology rather than common sense.

The stated aim is to ensure that taxpayers’ funds aren’t being used to buy drugs.

Really, I’d be far happier if they made sure taxpayers’ money wasn’t being used to pay politicians’ mortgages or retirements.

We’d save a whole lot more money that way – however, I can’t see those in government choosing to inconvenience themselves rather than a bunch of junkie dole bludgers.

The government has claimed that the testing will be random, which isn’t exactly true.

They will put people it deems at a “higher risk of “substance abuse issues” and then choose those to be tested from that pool.

So those tested will only come from a finely-honed segment of all jobseekers – explain to me how it’s “random” when most of those on Newstart benefits will be excluded.

Maybe it’s just me but the idea of creating a pool of possible drug users and then choosing to test some of them for drugs brings the phrase “fish in a barrel” to mind.

It’s like the government is skewing the tests to ensure it gets the results it desires.

“See, look, we told you people on welfare were lazy drug users, and these results prove it,” they may well crow.

However it’s a whole lot easier to win at cards when you stack the deck from the beginning.

This story OPINION: Some drug users face a testing time ahead first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.