Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 I cannot continue without saying something about the member for Nelson. I will pretty well dismiss most of what she said. Frankly, I am becoming a little tired of hearing her personal philosophy. I find it very difficult at times to call her the member for Nelson. A few weeks ago, my kids brought home a book called Meanie Prickle Burrow. It tells a story about an old woman who lives in a hut and who does not like anyone. I will not go into too much detail because I would be ruled out of order, but every time I look at the honourable member now I keep saying Meanie Prickle Burrow to myself. Frankly, if I were being kind to her in describing some of her comments, I would call her pragmatic but, if I were being truthful, I would call her a redneck. I believe the kind of comments she makes are out of touch. Whilst they may represent the feelings of an element of the Northern Territory population, they are becoming increasingly out of step with the initiatives of this government, particularly on these issues. I applaud the ministers statement. I believe it is well overdue. There is no doubt that community patience is exhausted in this regard. Part of Palmerston is in the electorate of Brennan. It is a new community and is still much-maligned. As residents of the township of Palmerston, we despair often over the Wicking cartoons that paint Palmerston in a straight, low socioeconomic sense. It is a very good community which is developing well. Because it is a new town in every respect, we still have the opportunity to get things right in Palmerston. A few weeks ago, I attended the federal government Public Works Committee hearings on the increase of the army presence in the north. As members know, a large part of that development is happening in Palmerston. There has been a major release of land for 1000 new houses, of which about 30% will accommodate military personnel. It disturbed me that one group to appear before the committee raised concerns about law-and-order issues in Palmerston. I forget what its name is. It is something like Concerned Citizens Against the Military Build-up. When questioned by the committee chairman, the representatives of this group admitted that their number totalled 11 people, but they said that they felt that they were speaking for the broader community. They believed that they had a clear case to match an increase in law-and-order problems with the defence build-up in Palmerston. I took umbrage at that because I am pretty well aware of the situation with the military presence, particularly in Palmerston. Mine was one of the first 9 military families to take up residence in Palmerston. I appeared before the committee and reminded it that most of the married military personnel - particularly with the units that have arrived so far and it will be the case in the future - have very young families. In Palmerston, the children are mostly toddlers, and it is simply untrue to say that those families, or the children in those families, could be linked in any way with increased law-and-order problems in the town. Equally, it is quite untrue to suggest that single soldiers are involved because I know that Palmerston has not developed amenities to the stage to attract single soldiers to the township even for recreation. However, there is a clear link between the law-and-order issues and other problems in Palmerston and the itinerant types that this initiative seeks to address. I am particularly pleased that this initiative will empower Palmerston Town Council to do something about these problems and will also provide resources for Palmerston Town Council to act effectively to manage the problems and help to remove them from the general community. We need to involve the local community directly, and this initiative particularly empowers town councils to do that. As we know, the powers are intrusive, and they need to be intrusive. There is a need to speak softly and carry a big stick, as the saying goes. In this instance, this is only a little stick, and we speak softly 3254