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 I want to dispute one point that the Minister for Health and Community Services made. He said that the Northern Territory will be leading the way in terms of utilising local government employees to undertake these types of enforcement activities. In fact, we are not. On the beachfronts in South Australia today and at virtually any public reserve area, there are huge signs stating: No Alcohol or Alcohol-Free Zone or No Alcohol Permitted. If the police find you drinking alcohol in those areas, they will issue you with a ticket or take whatever action is required under the relevant by-law. Certainly, council employees will tell you to get rid of the alcohol, put it in the car or whatever. If you do not do as instructed, you will be charged under the by-law. In some respects, what the minister is introducing is not very different from what is being done elsewhere. The big difference is that the change in our society is such, Mr Speaker, that, when you and I were kids, our parents simply would not have allowed us to behave in the way that some people behave today. People were raised to different standards than those that apply in what I call the modem way of life. It is probably the fault of all of us that we have allowed our standards to change. I do not particularly blame Aboriginal people for it because one of the major problems is that they have never really gone through an educational process that relates our societys values to their society. That is one of the reasons why people smash things, vandalise things and behave in a way that is seen to be antisocial. I should also make a comment about the difficulty where people speak a language other than English. On occasion, I have been under the impression that World War III was about to break out at any minute on Todd Street in Alice Springs simply because 2 Aboriginal people were talking to each other from opposite sides. They have been shouting because they are at quite some distance from one another. Because I do not understand the language, I gain the impression one of them may pull out a nulla nulla, run across the street and kill the other person whereas, in actual fact, they are simply exchanging pleasantries or having a normal conversation. I believe such things reinforce the impression among some white Territorians that some of the behaviour of Aboriginal people is antisocial. That is because, apart from the member for Nhulunbuy who becomes a little uptight at times, we do not usually shout at each other from a distance of 20 ft to 30 ft. I believe many people misjudge Aboriginal people and their social behaviour simply because they do not understand what is going on. Having said all that, I believe the initiative is a good one that is worthy of support. I hope it will achieve its aim of reducing antisocial behaviour. If it simply alleviates a problem in the Todd riverbed by having some of the litter removed, that will be a positive move in itself. If the idea works very well, that will be great. However, simply because it is new and a little different is no reason for any member to condemn it. I believe everyone should have that vision about the quality of life that we all want and the standards of social behaviour that will enable our children, wives and families to move around in the community without feeling threatened in any way. Certainly, I support this initiative from the Minister for Health and Community Services. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH (Nelson): Mr Speaker, I can say that it was interesting to read the honourable ministers statement, but that is about as far as I would go. I must say that, despite adverse comment by government members, I believe the remarks by the Leader of the Opposition came closer to the reality of the situation. I am probably one of only a couple of members here today who is not wearing rose-tinted spectacles. I believe there is a definite 3244