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 police. If the problem is associated with a liquor outlet which is selling alcohol to intoxicated persons, we contact the Liquor Commission. It is a very difficult matter because it involves a mixture of a perception about actual law breaking and actual law breaking. When you pass on the information to the police, the police may report that there is a group of people in the particular area, but none of them is drinking. When you contact the complainant, they may tell you that they were not certain that the group was drinking on that day but, a couple of days earlier, they had seen someone there with a can of coke which seemed to contain alcohol. There are some social problems there, and perceived problems. It is much more complicated than the member for Jingili makes it appear. He speaks as though it is always a very standard problem. All kinds of people like to socialise in public areas, on the beaches and in parks, whether it be to have a game of cricket or merely to sit and talk. The member for Jingili said naively that there is a problem in his electorate. People gather and sit adjacent to the locked public toilets and, after they have been drinking, they want to use a toilet. That would be the outcome irrespective of whether they were drinking alcohol or soft drink. One must question the sense in the toilet blocks being locked at all times. Thousands of tourists visit Darwin every year. I am sure that all members have travelled interstate or overseas. A major problem at times is to find a public toilet. If you need to use a toilet and you are unable to find one, you have a real problem. Mrs Padgham-Purich: Many people do not do in public toilets what they are supposed to do. Mr BAILEY: There are problems with that. However, I am saying that there is a slight contradiction if people object that others are not utilising an appropriate facility or are urinating or defecating in public areas when they acknowledge that this behaviour is happening in the vicinity of a toilet block that cannot be accessed. It might be thought that the easiest solution to that problem would be to unlock the facility. If there is a problem involving damage or vandalism, that is a separate issue that needs to be resolved, but there is an element of hypocrisy in objecting to people behaving in this way in public areas when the toilet blocks designed for people to use in those areas are locked. The real reason behind the ministers statement today is that we are all accustomed to receiving phone calls asking what we are doing to solve the problem of public drinking. We have all rung the police and the Liquor Commission and we know that it is a very difficult problem to deal with. Joint committees of local government, NT government and Aboriginal association representatives have attempted to come up with solutions to this problem. What we see now with the tabling of this ministerial statement is an acknowledgment that the government has realised that there are no political points to be scored by failing to deal with the problem. It has been responsible for public disorder and public drinking for many years, but it has been unable to solve this problem. The law-and-order members opposite, the government that said that it would solve all the problems of crime in the Northern Territory and make parents responsible for the actions of their children, has shown itself to be a dismal failure. 3271