‘Paddy’s Law’ Bill could save lives


Second Reading

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (10:50): I would like to speak in support of this bill. As the member for Wright indicated, the bill comes to us as a result of the death of one Paddy Ryan, a Port Lincoln teenager who huffed on a gas bottle at a party and died. It has obviously had serious and extreme repercussions through the community at Port Lincoln, not just to his family but to his friends and the broader community.

I have met with Paddy’s father, Adrian Ryan, on a number of occasions now. He has put a lot of thought and effort into what he might do as a father to ensure this does not happen to anyone else. He has had good support from a close group of friends, including educators from within the Port Lincoln city. I have also met with those people who are providing support, comfort and encouragement to Paddy’s father, Adrian.

One of the things that struck me at a recent meeting was when one of the educators at Port Lincoln said that she had rather a large group of schoolchildren in a room—about 110 students, I think she said—and she asked quite openly, of these teenage students, ‘Who of you have not tried this?’ Only four put up their hand. Most of the rest of us in this chamber would never have heard of this. I had never heard of huffing. It is known by other terms, obviously, but it is known as huffing at the moment. Essentially it is taking a gasp of gas from an LPG cylinder to try to get some sort of high in a party situation.

As the member for Wright rightly indicated, teenagers do risky things. We have all done risky things as teenagers, but unfortunately on this particular night it had tragic consequences. It is widespread, far more widespread than we, as mature adults, would ever have recognised. I understand, according to Mr Ryan, that there have been deaths from this experience in the past, going back some 10 or 15 years even. It was not recognised particularly at the time, but it has certainly come to the fore now and has been brought to my attention.

We all have those LPG gas bottles at home, in the shed, on the barbecue. They are used for any number of reasons. They are readily accessible and dare I say they are more accessible to an underage teenager than a six-pack of beer. They are cheap, available, accessible. They supposedly give a high, but there is some doubt about that, even. Anyway, I digress.

Mr Ryan’s aim is to have warning stickers affixed to the LPG cylinders. It is as simple as that. It is not an extensive bill. The member for Wright has indicated he will move amendments. I will most likely be chairing that committee, so I look forward to that debate. I do not believe, as an individual, that it is asking too much. It is relatively inexpensive. It seems to have the support of the broader industry, and I know it will take time. There are millions of gas bottles out there right across South Australia and Australia, so it will take time. But the feeling is that, if a warning label can help one teenager stop and think about what he or she is doing, then it is going to be worth it.

There is a new valve connection coming in 2021; ultimately, that will arrive. Once again, it will take time to be affixed to all gas cylinders throughout Australia. Mr Ryan feels that time is an imperative here. I must say that as a parent I feel his pain, as do all who are parents in this place, I am sure. So I congratulate Adrian Ryan on his position and the efforts he has made in what must have been extremely trying circumstances, not just on the night of the party but in the weeks and months that have followed.

As a representative in this place of Port Lincoln and the broader Eyre Peninsula community, it is paramount that I bring these concerns to the parliament and provide support for a bill that may save a life.

Debate adjourned on motion of Dr Harvey.


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