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 car unlawfully used once, or damaged in attempted theft, is an admission that you have not lived in the Alice fo r long. Parked bicycles have to be chained down. Have residents to endure this extraordinary high crime rate and show no reaction? Why do Australians at large, and all Aborigines in particular, believe that this sort o f criminal conduct, almost exclusively confined to relatively small sections o f the Aboriginal population, would not give rise to sentiments o f mistrust and gravely harm racial relations? We live as Territorians in arguably one o f the most violent areas on the surface o f this earth. I f any Territorian were to die because o f the actions o f a political terrorist, we would be alarmed and quick to demand appropriate action be taken by parliament, the government o f the day. the courts and the police. However, daily we witness a carnage far greater in proportion to the terrorism occurring in Northern Ireland. In central Australia, that is the area to the south o f Dunmarra, the annual homicide rate exceeds that for the whole o f Victoria in many o f the years prior to 1951, and this amongst a population o f less than 50 000 people. As with the scourge o f terrorism, so with community violence. You can catch individual offenders but the basic social causes will go on producing the same evil until those basic causes are identified and eliminated. The problems causing domestic violence in the Northern Territory amongst white and Aboriginal Australians are clearly identifiable, but getting the responsible governments, departments, agencies and people to cooperate with each other to even attempt to overcome aspects o f the problem, appears to be insurmountable. More importantly, he went on to say: Alcohol must be accepted at the outset as the main component giving rise to social disorder in our community. An incalculable price is paid in meeting the costs arising from alcohols contribution to the road toll, the killings, the woundings and the domestic and social violence. The Alice Springs Hospital and. I am sure, the Royal Darwin Hospital and no doubt every other hospital and nursing clinic in the Territory are constantly treating injuries and diseases sustained as a result o f the abuse o f alcohol within our community. The staff o f these places are constantly subjected to the drunken violence exerted upon them by drunken patients and their drunken erstwhile friends. At the same time that this large percentage o f our medical services are occupied in servicing the urgent needs o f the consequences o f this drunken debauchery, many would-be patients are being turned away from our hospitals to become places on waiting lists for surgery, or other medical attention, that, if and when beds become available, will enable them to regain their former healthy, normal lifestyle. There are 3 issues in those passages that we should all agree with. The first is that the underlying factor causing domestic violence and social disorder in the Northern Territory is alcohol. I am sure no one will deny that. The second is the incalculable cost, in Mr Barritts words, arising from alcohols contribution to the extra strain placed on medical services, the 3269