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 themselves against people who are crazy with booze. They will supervise welfare programs afterwards. What is proposed is physically impossible. The minister mentioned that public drunkenness is delinquent behaviour, not criminal behaviour. That may be so, but that attitude verges on regarding the drunks in the community, in doing what they do in the mall, as the poor little didumses of the community. The public purse is called on too many times to prop up the antisocial, degrading, self-indulgent behaviour of people who mostly will continue in the same way - binge drinking, grogging on when they have money and misbehaving in an extremely nasty, antisocial way when they cannot get the grog. I cannot see this vicious circle being broken by the proposals in this statement. The public purse is called on more and more to prop up these people and their drug habits. That does not make them stop drinking. The support will have to be ongoing. The root of the evil itself is not really being attacked. The proposals in the ministers statement attack the symptoms, not the disease. The disease is the grog going into the mouth in the first place. It is a little like the governments policy in relation to AIDS which happens also to be the responsibility of the Minister for Health and Community Services. I should not blame him really because the whole government is behind him. The government maintains that it is against the spread of AIDS and, on the one hand, at great cost in terms of time, trouble and expense, it introduces programs to educate people about the dangers and, on the other hand, it very generously funds the AIDS Council to supply clean needles to the druggies. The idea is that these poor druggies will use clean needles, which are supplied by the government, and not dirty needles or shared needles that could spread the AIDS virus if one of them is infected. The by-products of this generosity are the needles that are discarded on beaches and in other public places where unsuspecting people, particularly children, may be infected by treading on them or picking them up. The minister announced that there is to be a new levy on cask wine. I do not entirely agree with that. I can see the reasoning behind it but, once again, we will be paying. The average person who buys the occasional cask of wine to drink at a barbecue, because it is cheaper than bottled wine, will be paying the levy and, dare I say, most of these people will be white. The people who drink flagon wine and those who drink cask wine are of different ethnic origins. That is an example of the behaviour of one group of people in the community creating considerable expense and inconvenience for others in the community. To take another example, recently we passed legislation to prohibit people riding in the open trays of utilities. The white carpenter and the white plumber would quite safely and happily take a couple of workmen in the trays of their utes from Palmerston to Darwin or Winnellie. M r Perron: Not always safely. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: There were not too many accidents compared with the number of accidents involving vehicles overloaded with Aboriginals out in the bush. However, once again, it is the people who obey the law who will be penalised. The Leader of the Opposition asked why the extra funds could not be allocated to the police to provide an increased presence on the streets. They could pick up the drunks and 3246