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 problem with alcohol consumption in the community. A few of the tangential matters mentioned in the statement might do some good but, on the whole, it is simply a collection of words written on the subject in the hope that everything will work out at some time in the future. The government has had in place for some time a program called Living With Alcohol. It has cost an exorbitant amount of money. It has produced results, but at what financial cost? Road deaths in the Territory have reduced, the incidence of violence has decreased, road fatalities and accidents have gone down and, speaking very generally, people do not drink as much as they used to when they socialise. It could be said that we are also living with tobacco, but we are living with tobacco by increasing prohibition. Those are the 2 main drugs that we use in this community. It has not been touched on, but I believe the governments policy of living with alcohol, and the increasing prohibition of tobacco, point to the fact that we certainly should not legalise the use of marijuana. To do so would be to open an enormous Pandoras box of financial costs to the community, and then we would be living with marijuana, and we would have a bigger problem than we do living with alcohol! M r Reed: That is true. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: It is self-evident that public drunkenness has been increasing in public places in the Top End. I do not live in Alice Springs, but I have heard about the Todd River area. There is no way anyone would get me anywhere near it on foot even in daylight. I am not squeamish - 1 do not mind going to many places where perhaps other women would not go - but you would not catch me near the Todd River. M r Perron: No one would accuse you of being a wimp, Noel. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: I believe that this statement and the sentiments expressed in it treat the symptoms rather than the disease itself. We did away with vagrancy. We removed the offence of vagrancy from the statute books some time ago. There was some talk of reintroducing the vagrancy laws again, but of course the do-gooders and the wearers of rose-tinted spectacles did not like the idea of the police apprehending somebody for behaving in ways that are against accepted standards public decency. It probably offends the poor creatures who do not have anywhere better to go and so do things in public that they should not. The minister said that he had approached the local government councils on this matter. There is one council that he has not approached. I can say with some certainty that, if he approached the Litchfield Shire Council, it would not be very interested in the proposition. In the Litchfield Shire, there is very little of the kind of public drunkenness that is to be seen in Darwin and Palmerston. Perhaps it could be dealt with differently by the locals themselves. I will not enlarge on that. However, I believe that what the Leader of the Opposition said is true. If the city and town councils are being approached to fund or to be partners in funding a program to introduce a second-rate police force of drunk inspectors, that will place a considerable responsibility on the shoulders of those councils. These people will be a cross between the police, the brown bombers and a drunks patrol, and they will have to be everything to everybody. Not only are they to pick them up, but they are to pour out their beer, and they will have to deal with the hostility that will ensue. They will have to protect 3245