Submission Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community 051 Pitjantjatjara Council Inc
Tabled Paper 271
Tabled Papers for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Eric Poole
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
been connected with alcohol from Curtin Springs, Morrison testified. The situation on the South Australian communities was deteriorating to such an extent that in July and September Morrison said he made a trip to Curtin Springs. According to his sworn testimony, he saw there a group of Pitjantjatjara people, all intoxicated, and a woman who was bleeding from a number of lacerations to her face and head. There were other people in the land opposite [to the roadhouse]. There was obviously Aboriginal people around the vicinity, and there was a number of vehicles parked along the Ebenezer [Lasseter] Highway with people sitting along the road and in the bush. Near the conclusion of this testimony, the legal member of the Commission, Mr. Raby, noted that during the Yulara hearing some years before, he recalled testimony to the effect that people from Docker River routinely made the 1,500-kilometre round trip to Alice Springs for alcohol. He asked Morrison if people would only go to Alice Springs if Curtin Springs did not sell takeaway alcohol. Morrison reiterated his earlier testimony that only the "die-hards" were likely to "drive any distance". "I think it's quite clear," he said, "that the closer the outlet the more people will go there, [and] the more grog, the more regularly you'll have this grog problem." In closing, Morrison offered some compelling statistics: Over a six-month period in 1988, 124 people were apprehended for public intoxication on the Lands, he said, compared to four such cases over the same period in 1987. "There's no clearer indication that I can give to you here," he said. The magistrate Morrison's testimony was supported by that of Magistrate Denis Barritt, who presides over the court of summary jurisdiction in remote Centralian communities such as Yulara, Hermannsburg, Yuendumu and Papunya as well as in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. Barritt testified that in his ten years on the bench in Central Australia he had never heard a single complaint in relation to alcohol from Curtin Springs - until 1988. The number of grog-related cases heard at the Yulara court were increasing, he said, and "most of the alcohol, classically almost all of it, 53