Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 Jim will be greatly missed. He was a genuinely community-minded Darwinian and Territorian. He contributed to the community, he worked for the community and he stood up for what he believed in without fear or favour. Frankly, he would get stuck into anybody if he thought they were in the wrong. I have been on the wrong end of his tongue on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, I regarded him as a friend and I am pleased to think that he regarded me likewise. He will be sorely missed, and my condolences go to his family. Unfortunately, not so often these days do we find people of his independence of spirit and readiness to get up and have a go, and to get stuck into the authorities and the bureaucracy in the interests of the community. Jim was one of those people. M rs PADGHAM-PURICH (Nelson): Mr Speaker, we hear increasingly of the therapeutic value of pets in cases of sickness, mental deterioration and loneliness. We hear of them being of use socially with disabled children and old people. We read about the improved mental condition of people who are mentally disabled. We hear about the brightness that comes into the lives of elderly people in retirement homes when pets arc adopted. I wonder if consideration has been given to having pets in correctional services establishments. I know Berrimah Prison has a team of guard dogs, but I am not talking of dogs in that sense. I am also aware that some people are so anti-social that their mental condition and their approach to life would not be improved by close habitation with a pet of some kind. However, I believe there could be many other prisoners who, if they had a close association with companion dogs - not personal pets but companion dogs - would improve their approach to society and their chances of successful rehabilitation might be improved. I believe that minimum-security facilities would be most worthy of consideration in this regard. At Gunn Point Prison Farm, the prisoners have access to the farm animals and I believe that this aids their rehabilitation. I am sure there will be minimum-security prisoners at the new Alice Springs Prison. Above all, I believe consideration should be given to having companion dogs in the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre if they are not there already. 1 do not think they are. There are some breeds of dogs that would lend themselves particularly to this proposition. Labradors and golden retrievers arc very intelligent, friendly and amenable to human companionship. They will repay companionship with unstinting loyalty. Many of these young people - and I am not speaking as a bleeding heart, but from a realistic point of view - have led very restricted lives. It is often suggested that the reason for their fall into crime is their lack of self-recognition or self-esteem, and a lack of love and attention paid to them. Nobody has considered them worth while and they have turned to crime to gain attention. That is something that they certainly get when they are arrested, are brought before the courts and end up in a juvenile detention ccntrc. If friendship with a pet, in particular a dog, is offered to them, I am sure that the chances of their rehabilitation will be improved and it will be less likely that they will reoffend. In many ways, dogs give more than is forthcoming from humans. If a human is friendly with a dog, in most cases many sins can be forgiven the person. This is one of the reasons why I feel it is very important that children have access to touching and keeping animals when they are very young because they will grow up more whole and will be able to appreciate life with a much broader vision. If people grow up from childhood without any knowledge or experience of having a pet - even a budgerigar - somebody to talk to when nobody else will talk to them, 3607
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