Neil Mitchell slams Fiona Patten for sharing ‘offensive nonsense’ message from safe injecting room supporters
The debate around the Richmond safe injecting room has reached new heights, with residents rallying in the streets on Saturday, calling for the facility to be relocated.
Less than 24 hours later a 15-year-old boy was found dead in his family home near the facility.
He was reportedly using heroin in the days prior to his death.
Amid the rising tensions, Reason Party MP Fiona Patten has circulated a controversial message on Twitter from a group of drug using Richmond residents.
The communique from the group, dubbed ‘Smack Bloc’, labels the residents committee, who are calling for the facility to be moved, “a nest of predominantly white, middle class gentrifiers whose faux community concern is merely poorly disguised contempt for injecting drug users”.
A small group marched today against the live saving supervised injecting centre in Richmond and they received lots of attention. But here is a communique from the people who are rarely heard- those with lived experience #youtalkwedie #livedexperience pic.twitter.com/QPPTGLzC6N
— Fiona Patten MP (@FionaPattenMLC) November 23, 2019
Neil Mitchell criticised the Reason Party leader for sharing the message.
“It’s offensive undergraduate nonsense,” the 3AW Mornings host said.
“This is the sort of nonsense you’d expect by this lot, but Fiona Patten has effectively endorsed it by circulating it.
“I think Fiona Patten has done the wrong thing promoting and circulating this thing.
“It’s time she grew up!”
Ms Patten has since distanced herself from the post, telling Tom Elliott she was simply “sharing” another point of view.
She said she did not agree with all of their views.
Smack Bloc’s list of demands include the legalisation of drug use, heroin on prescription, and no more tabloid media criticism.
Richmond resident of 22 years, Peter, said the injecting room has made parts of the suburb a no-go zone.
“You can’t be exposed. You get seen, you get harassed,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“I’ve got two children … We used to walk down to Victoria Street to the beautiful restaurants. We can’t go down Lennox Street anymore.”
State opposition leader Michael O’Brien said the facility needs to be moved.
“We understand Andrews passed a law, the trial is legislated, but that trial has to be moved,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
“The location is in the wrong spot.
“It’s near a primary school, it’s next to residents, the antisocial behaviour there is shocking.
“I’ve met with the residents there. I wouldn’t live next to it, Daniel Andrews wouldn’t live next to it, these people shouldn’t live next to it either.”
Press PLAY below for more.