Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 report highlighted the fact that the public has lost confidence in the governments ability to provide it with an appropriate level of protection. That means one thing - more police. If the police cannot do their job with the 775 police officers that is the current maximum staffing level, then we should expand the maximum staffing level by increasing the numbers of police to the level where they are able to do the necessary preventive patrols and close community liaison. Instead of doing that, the government has gone down the path of providing a mere 7 people - who will not have the skills and the training of the police force or its legal standing - working to council by-laws and not to the Police Administration Act to do this job. It is the worst kind of knee-jerk response because it is not based on solving the problem, but to providing a bandaid solution to a problem on the cheap. A specific problem in Darwin is the Nightcliff patrols. A complaint that the opposition receives regularly relates to the problems associated with the presence of drunks on the Nightcliff foreshore. The area is a popular recreation spot for many of Darwins residents and people such as myself who visit occasionally and run along the flat there. I mention the latter in passing. It is also an expanding population area, with the building of new flats. Instead of increasing the number of police patrols in this area and providing the police with the resources to deal with the problem, the government is now withdrawing the police patrols. It has let the numbers of police at Nightcliff run down to such a critical level that the effectiveness of the continuous community presence is diminished. The government now wants to withdraw them altogether and replace them with 2 new law enforcement officers who will be required to do this job for the whole of Darwin. It is a joke, and a very bad joke. In conclusion, let me say that this statement from the minister is very thin on detail. He is the Minister for Health and Community Services, yet here he is stepping into the police area with no indication, in a prepared statement, as to what the association would be with the existing police force, and no indication as to how these proposed new powers will interact with existing police powers. I point out that the opposition is prepared to tackle not only the problems of alcohol abuse from the point of view of the abusers, but also the public order problems. We are prepared also to tackle the problem of habituals. Unlike the minister, we are prepared to tackle and discuss the nature of appropriate rehabilitation facilities. Furthermore, in the fight against alcohol abuse, the opposition is prepared to tackle the underlying issues. I point out that, as far as crime associated with alcohol abuse is concerned, the opposition is prepared to be tough on that crime. However, it insists that the government be equally tough on the underlying causes of that crime and not just walk by on the other side - that is, that it is not simply selective in its approach as to the particular problems it will tackle. We are prepared to take it on, as I have been prepared to take it on for several years now, on a broad front, not the kind of selective front that we see in this statement. There are positive elements to it, but I am afraid that the minister has failed abjectly to place this new strategy in the overall context of an attack on alcohol abuse, either from the point of view of the abuser or from the point of view of the community which also suffers. Mr ADAMSON (Casuarina): Mr Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on this statement from the honourable minister. Mrs Padgham-Purich: It does not take much to please you. 3224