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 workers felt with their people. They are embarrassed for their own people who are causing so much social disharmony in Alice Springs. It is not only in Alice Springs that these troubles are apparent. The main street of Tennant Creek is as bad, and we have heard from other speakers about what happens in Katherine and Darwin. I have here the editorial from the 3 May issue of the Alice Springs News. It is entitled Open Letter to the Chief Minister: At 10 minutes past noon tomorrow, near the Wills Terrace footbridge in Alice Springs, several people will be committing offences. How do I know that? Because it happens most days. People will be buying wine and beer from a bottle shop, walking across Leichhardt Terrace, sitting down in the Todd River and consuming alcohol in a public place within 2 km o f licensed premises. The police are unlikely to do much about it because these offences, there and elsewhere, occur on a scale so vast as to make comprehensive law enforcement all but impossible - that is, under present policies. These offences on a daily basis lead to assaults, disorderly conduct and grossly objectionable behaviour right in the middle o f our town. Talk to practically anyone in Alice Springs, and they will tell you that this is our biggest problem. The authorities say: We can't shift these people. Where would we shift them to? Where else could they drink? The answer, it seems, lies in your hands. The editorial continued: Government could remove present provisions for the return o f confiscated alcohol, 48 hours to 7 days. This provision is rather stupid. I am told cheeky fellows complain that cops dont return the booze in a chilled state. It would not be a racist move. I don't think you d get an argument from the World Council o f Churches nor the Human Rights Commission. The law could be enforced without fear or favour. Is there a human right to drink alcohol in the most offensive manner, similar to the rights o f free speech, health, education and religion? The vast majority o f Aboriginal people, some o f the most helpful organisations, are revolted by what is going on. That editorial appeared in a newspaper in Alice Springs which is considered by some to be a red, radical rag. Even if that is the case, it is calling for the very action that the minister is proposing. The program proposed by the minister is the stick in what the Minister for Aboriginal Development described earlier as a carrot and stick program. The government continues to spend SI3m a year through the Living With Alcohol program and other preventive programs to which the member for Nelson alluded. We need now to attack the problem from the other end. While the $ 13m is spent on what I call the carrot side of the program, this new initiative will add an extra $ 1. lm to addressing the alcohol-related problems with the stick. This proposal will bring about a greater level of control of itinerant drunks. As I understand it, the program will provide town councils with funds to obtain a vehicle, employ and train staff, and provide infrastructure to support the program. For Alice Springs, there will be 2 officers, and there will be one at Tennant Creek. These extra bodies will complement the work undertaken by the night patrols and the police. The personnel will concentrate on the 3262