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 members for Stuart, Barkly and MaeDonnell would also be able to see it, given that they represent people in remote communities. The member for Stuart scraped in with 88 votes and therefore he might not be too familiar with what is going on in the bush. Obviously, he has not been there for a while. The member for Amhem recognises the fact that the people responsible for this antisocial behaviour in the major centres in the Northern Territory act likewise in their communities. Frequently, that is why they are not in their own communities. They have been told to leave because the communities do not want that antisocial behaviour.. Unfortunately, over a period of years, people in the main centres have grown too tolerant of the littering, the antisocial behaviour, the fighting, the swearing and the dreadful consequences that beset the people who are caught in this terrible trap. We must not forget the latter in this argument. I did not hear much of their side of the story from the members opposite, apart from a little misguided bleeding that I will come to shortly. The people caught in this binge drinking cycle are frequent presenters at our hospitals with stab wounds, broken limbs and poor health. All too frequently, they die prematurely from the results of the fights, the mayhem or the alcohol catches up with them. As a government, we cannot continue to ignore those problems. Since the Chief Minister introduced the Living With Alcohol strategy in 1991, it has made enormous progress in addressing them. We have seen dramatic reductions in alcohol-related injury. We have seen dramatic reductions in the consumption of alcohol in the Northern Territory. We have seen sales of light beer increase from 1% to 30% of total beer sales in the Northern Territory. We have seen progress that is well beyond what we expected after a few years of operation of the Living With Alcohol strategy. The programs have been directed principally at individuals who drink too much and who suffer the consequences of that drinking. What we have not been able to do is address the problems of the broader community - that is, the antisocial behaviour that stems from public drunkenness. The community is crying out for us to do that. At the ABC studio a little earlier, I explained this program over the radio. I am told by my press officer, who was sitting in the control room, that the control panel virtually lit up with people ringing in to indicate their support for the governments initiative on this issue. I believe that should be a salutary lesson to the Leader of the Opposition because there is an expectation that the government should address this matter. The fact that we are doing it through local governments indicates our ability to cooperate with them and their willingness to find solutions to the problems. I cannot see that there will be any difficulties in the partnership. It is a logical step that I believe will work well. The member for MaeDonnell raised the matter of CAAAPU again. He said that I had pulled the wool over the eyes of journalists. If that is the case, I might end up in the Guinness Book o f Records. I do not think too many politicians have been able to do that in the histoiy of Australia. The only person in the Northern Territory who does not understand why the funding was withdrawn from CAAAPU is the member for MaeDonnell. However for his benefit, I will repeat why it was withdrawn. Funding was withdrawn because some staff of CAAAPU were being given personal loans from taxpayers money that had been provided for the operation of CAAAPUs programs. It was given because the unit ran out of money to pay salaries to its staff. Why did 3276