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 Hopefully, this process will provide a means of knitting together the different approaches taken by the night patrols, the community warden schemes, the local government councils, the Aboriginal organisations, the police and the Liquor Commission. It may enable them to take on those people who do not give a damn and who will not consider anybody else and, as part of the stick process rather than the carrot, hassle them and ensure that they understand that their behaviour is unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue. If we are able to reinforce the rights of people who live in the urban communities as much as we work to support the rights of people who live in non-urban communities, we will be able to improve the quality of life for Territorians. I support the minister in his endeavours. Mr BURKE (Brennan): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to make some comments on the ministers initiative, particularly in relation to my constituency of Brennan, and also on the Palmerston Town Councils role in these initiatives. I wish to remark initially on some of the comments by other members, in particular the comment by the member for Macdonnell that, when we include Aboriginals in these problems, we should not lose sight of the fact that the Aboriginal element involved represents a small part only of the overall Aboriginal community. He said that we should not lose our perspective or make gross generalisations, and I would be the first to admit that I have been guilty of doing that on many occasions. However, I was brought to a halt in that regard recently when I was in Sydney. I was staying at a particularly fine hotel at the Rocks as part of the poker machine committees investigations. There were 2 smaller hotels within about 200 yards of the hotel where I was staying. On a Sunday evening, I strolled out of my hotel at about 10 pm to find a crowd of at least 200 people who were drunk, disorderly and unruly. Some were vomiting on the street. Frankly, I felt particularly threatened. It really made me realise that we tend to generalise about the problem in the Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory, but that the overall white community in Australia has a vast problem in this regard and it was patently apparent to me on that evening. That made me stop and realise that we must always put these matters into perspective. In his comments, the member for MacDonnell raised a host of questions as to how the government intended to deal with such matters as training, consultation with community leaders, injury to the persons involved in these programs, the involvement of police and some legal issues. In particular, he asked the Minister for Health and Community Services and the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services how they would deal with those issues. I would say that we have to deal with them in a decentralised way. That is one of the reasons why I support this program which represents a small step in a large array of initiatives that are in place. We must devolve this responsibility to the local government councils as far as possible. I take heed of members comments about the need for more police. We would all like more police but, as with any other organisation involved in activities of that kind, there is a heavy cost particularly in terms of personnel. Usually, some 80% of costs are personnel costs, and the same is true of the police force. It is pretty much the same with the military. Thus, when talking about increasing numbers in the police force, we cannot afford to lose sight of the difficult problem of simply financing an increased police presence, and we need to look for other initiatives. Initiatives which involve those closest to the problem, as the one announced by the minister does, are the kind that we should try to encourage as far as possible. 3253