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Steve Price and Rita Panahi’s drug testing debate

Steve Price and Rita Panahi have clashed over the government’s idea to trial drug testing for welfare recipients.

Under the plan, people on Newstart and Youth Allowance who test positive for drugs could be placed on income management or referred to rehabilitation programs.

The two-year trial would see 5,000 welfare recipients tested for drugs at the trial sites of Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales and Mandurah in Western Australia.

But Steve argues the plan should be implemented nationwide.

“If it’s such a good idea do it everywhere to everyone. How would you like to live in the area where they’re pointing a finger at saying, ‘let’s do it there’?

“We’ve got no detail here, this is the government throwing this out there thinking everyone will go ‘oh yeah this is a great idea the government’s getting tough on people who have the dole and take drugs’. It’s just virtue signalling.

“It’s a joke is what it is.”

But Rita has hit back, calling Steve a “very cynical individual”.

“Why not roll it out small, see what unintended consequences occur so you’re equipped to deal with them nationally.

“You have turned into some do-gooder, you’ll be hugging trees by the end of the day.”

Click PLAY to hear their arguments in full

Mayor of Canterbury-Bankstown Khal Asfour says he wasn’t consulted about the plan and doesn’t know why his council area was chosen to trial the idea.

“I think it discriminates against my community. 

“The reality is drugs are a national health problem… it’s not a welfare problem.

“They always want to pick on Canterbury-Bankstown.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview