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




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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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 The comments by the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services were very valid. As the minister responsible for the Liquor Commission, I would be quite happy to see surveillance cameras running for every minute that a liquor outlet is open. There is no doubt in my mind that very many licensed outlets continue to flout the liquor regulations. That is probably not so much the case in Darwin, but it certainly is in Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek. Some of the stories that I have heard about remote areas where there is no permanent police presence are simply frightening. Over the years, we have tried a number of approaches. Some have had some effect and others have had little or no effect. This is one more measure that we will try and I believe we will have a degree of success with it. It remains to be seen whether it will be the complete success that some of us obviously think it might be. I am prepared to give it a go because I cannot see us sitting on our hands and simply allowing the situation to deteriorate further. Some 2 months ago, we heard that 20% of Aboriginal children in the community suffer from malnutrition. Yesterday, a member said that the Minister for Health and Community Services should be condemned because he commented that they were suffering from malnutrition because their parents were buying grog not food. We seem to get no help in those areas. The Sessional Committee on Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community went to Canberra. I have spoken personally to 3 consecutive federal ministers responsible for social security. I have begged and pleaded on behalf of Aboriginal communities for the federal government to do something collectively and constructively in relation to the way it pays social security cheques. I am not saying that, simply because people are unemployed, they should have food vouchers or green stamps and should not have any cash. The problem is that, in the compilation of social security payments, a formula is used to cover such components of modem urban life as food, rent, payment of rates, car repayments, clothing, dry cleaning, telephone bills, electricity bills and water bills. A family of Aboriginal people, particularly if they are involved in the alcohol cycle, may be living in the riverbed in Alice Springs and collecting a social security cheque every Thursday - a quite considerable amount of disposable income. I consider that I am reasonably well paid. Most of the community probably would say that I am overpaid, but I assure honourable members that there are many families in the Northern Territory, who are involved in this alcohol binge drinking cycle, who can afford to spend much more on alcohol than I would be able to afford to do. The reason is that they are not paying for a new car, they are not paying rent or making mortgage payments, and they are not paying telephone bills, electricity bills, water charges and rates and taxes. A member: Or insurance. Mr POOLE: Or insurance - or anything else. It was quite remarkable, but the committee was given the cold shoulder when it put these propositions to the federal minister in Canberra. It was all too hard. It was quite extraordinary because, in all cases, those 3 ministers had Aboriginal advisers with them and every one of those advisers agreed with what the committee was saying. The fact that, at that time, the committee included 2 Aboriginal members seemed to make no difference whatsoever. Not one of those ministers was willing even to listen. Consequently, we sometimes have to go it alone. 3243