Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


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 - Tuesday 23 May 1995 those organisations and that individual has. I will touch briefly on the avenues that exist currently. However, there was no way in the world that I intended to accept that the DPPs non-statutory procedures - that is, to prosecute or not to prosecute primarily, although there are other powers that he h a s ... Mr Bell: What do you mean by non-statutory? Mr PERRON: The other procedures, the way in which he treats people and the way in which applications are handled in his process ought to be able to be examined thoroughly and, if necessary, criticised. I have had personal experience of this in relation to the Liquor Commission. I do not support the Ombudsman, a one-man office, second-guessing and proposing to overturn decisions made by a board that has a role which is based on a whole range of evidence, including consideration of public and individual submissions, and an appeal mechanism. I do not support one man being able to come along, without any particular expertise in the field, and say that all that is wrong. However, in the Liquor Commissions processes of handling applications - the hoops which it would make people jump through, the expense that it put them to for, in some cases, the most minor applications, and the delays of hearing after rehearing that people were put through - to my mind bordered on the criminal. I propose to ensure that the Ombudsman has full power to scrutinise the procedures and modus operandi of these 3 organisations. I encourage the Ombudsman to take a keen interest in them whenever he hears a suggestion from Territorians that they believe they have had an unfair shake. It may be that the decision for the Territorian applicant or the appellant was upheld and the gentleman obtained his liquor licence but, if it cost him $150 000 and 18 months of time and trouble, when reasonable procedures would have obtained it in 3 months or 6 months, I believe that, notwithstanding the successful outcome of the application to the Liquor Commission, the commission should be subject to possibly severe scrutiny, possibly severe criticism and possibly even, if the case is serious enough, the suggestion that action may be taken by ministers against it and against the appointment of its members to boards and so on. Even if, at the end of the day, the commission supported the application, the complainant still has a right to have the procedures and processes examined thoroughly. With the Liquor Commission and the Planning Authority, of course, there are mechanisms to appeal their decisions. I wish to add here, in defence of the chairmen of those organisations, that we reject criticism by the member for MacDonnell that they are our men. He implied that they make decisions simply to suit the government. I gather he regards them both as men with sympathy for the governments political flavour. Mr Bell: No, that is not quite what I said. I think my words were crusty incumbents. Mr PERRON: They are both chairmen of boards that have a decision-making role. I understand that in one of them, the chairman has a policy of never using a casting vote. Each matter is to be decided by the board itself. I reject any suggestion that these 2 bodies make only those decisions that will keep the government happy. Indeed, there have been a number of decisions by both the Liquor Commission and the Planning Authority that I have trouble 3586