Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
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
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 apparently held responsible for all of the social ills while the majority, the mainstream group, have all the powers. I do not think that makes for a society that will become cohesive. Unfortunately, I was unable to hear all of the debate. I would rather have some time to reflect on this initiative and talk to people in my electorate about how they see this operating. I do not know that, in Tennant Creek, the town council is the appropriate body to administer a program of this kind. In the main, Tennant Creek Town Council comprises, with one exception, non-Aboriginal people, many of whom regrettably have expressed views that would be - the member for Brennan put it quite well when he described the member for Nelsons comments in many instances as redneck. There are several members of the Tennant Creek Town Council to whom that same label could be applied. Whether those are the types of people who should be administering a program such as this, with its need for sensitivity, is debatable. I will tell the town council that myself and therefore government members need not forward an extract of Hansard to the council. It already knows my views about some of the ways in which it goes about things. It may well be that its members would feel that this program is too onerous for them. Frankly, I do not see that Tennant Creek Town Council has the resources, the capability or the experience to deal with this. After all, most town councils have rejected the notion of looking after town camps. They say this responsibility is located more appropriately in the realm of town camp associations such as Julalikari and Tangentyere. They have acknowledged that those people best know the groups that we are targeting in this instance. They have experience with night patrols and so on. If anybody is to employ these cheap de facto cops, these may be the more appropriate bodies. However, I would like to talk to my constituents about this, and I reserve judgment on how it will evolve. To my mind, the police force is still not staffed adequately. They have not been given adequate resources to do the job properly. They are the people who are seen by the community as the law enforcers. If we want the law to be enforced, whether it is legislation from this Assembly or council by-laws, I believe the Northern Territory Police Force is the most appropriate, the best trained, and the better resourced body to do it. It is also the body that, in the end, is more accountable to the community. That is the way it should be done. Whether the government slices off some of the money from the Living With Alcohol program or whether it takes it from Treasury, I believe the police force is the body through which it should be done. Having said that, I would like to record my respect and admiration for many of the people who work on the Living With Alcohol program. I believe they are doing an excellent job. What they have achieved is amazing as is the data that they have gathered in the time that they have been operating. I believe the Northern Territory is in the forefront in terms of many of these alcohol reform programs. Long may their work continue because certainly we were going backwards fast before the program was implemented. In that regard, as other members have done in the past, I pay tribute to the work of the Sessional Committee on Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community and, in particular, to the member for MacDonnell for pushing for that committee to be established. If that had not been done, we would still be in the era of bloody good drinkers in the Northern Territory. I would say that our current problems would probably be even worse if we had not had the Living With Alcohol program to examine what was happening, take action and provide funding where appropriate. 3260
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