Smashed Avocado Emerges As Staunch Advocate For Festival Pill Testing


It’s universally regarded as the ultimate symbol of leftist, inner-city hipsterism, and now, the humble ‘smashed avocado’ has been co-opted for another cause which is likely to start the synapses of conservatives everywhere misfiring.

‘The Smashed Avocado Movement’ – a new activist organisation looking to “reduce apathy and promote engagement within communities around progressive values, issues and solutions” – is joining forces with Reason ACT for a rally to demand pill testing at November’s Spilt Milk Festival in Canberra, along with other music festivals nationwide.

It follows the recent announcement by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian that she would seek to close down the popular Defqon.1 music festival in Sydney, after two people died from ‘party drug’ overdoses. And that followed a landmark trial in Canberra earlier this year at the Groovin The Moo festival, where 128 participants had their drugs tested by the STA-Safe Consortium, two of which were found to be deadly. There were zero deaths at the Groovin The Moo.

Co-founder of The Smashed Avocado Movement, Max Black said the facts show that “last century’s zero-tolerance approach doesn’t work”.

“Pill testing does work, and it can happen now. It’s a harm reduction strategy that is focused on reducing the risks and creating a space for an informed decision to be made by people who use drugs.

“These are our children, our friends and our loved ones. It is time to treat this as a health issue and not a criminal issue. If you would like to help us keep our people who use drugs safe and alive, please join us at the rally and support us to demand pill testing now.”

Reason (formerly the Australian Sex Party) has been a long-time advocate for sensible drug law reform policy in Australia, and in particular advocated for pill testing to be legislated.

The ‘Support Pill Testing at Music Festivals Rally’ will be held at Garema Place, Canberra, on Saturday 6th October at 12 pm. You can reach the Smashed Avocado Movement at

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.