Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 14 May 1996



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 14 May 1996

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Parliamentary Record 21


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 14 May 1996 The Northern Territory is a violent society. It is a sobering experience to read any report on violent crime and see the Territorys prominence in the statistics related thereto. The Territory has the highest murder rate in the nation, at 5.84 persons per 100 000. The nearest state is Western Australia at 2.29. We have the third highest attempted murder rate at 2.34 per 100 000 persons. We have the highest sexual assault rate at 105.2 per 100 000 - about 40% higher than most states. We have the equivalent of a Hoddle Street massacre every year in the Territory and, every 2'A to 3 years, a number of deaths equivalent to the number who died at Port Arthur. In its report on homicides in Australia, the Australian Institute of Criminology indicated that 89% of the homicides in the Northern Territory were caused by assault with either a sharp instrument or a blunt instrument. Only 6% of homicides were effected with a firearm. It is estimated by Department of Health Services officials and others in the community that the rate of domestic violence in the Northern Territory is 6 times the national average. I could go on reciting the very sorry record of violence in the Northern Territory, but I think my point is made. We believe it is incumbent on members of this House not simply to put up our hands on gun control but to stand up and be counted on the range of real causes of violence in the Territory. If the government agrees to this inquiry, we submit that the following issues need to be examined: (1) the effectiveness of anti-domestic violence policies and the resources needed to make them fully effective; (2) the effectiveness of anti-alcohol strategies; (3) the level of resources provided to mental health facilities and mental health programs; (4) the way in which violence is portrayed in Territory society; (5) the laws which govern the classification system for films shown in Territory cinemas, what is screened on television and at what times; (6) the effect of violent video games on the underlying causes of violence in our community; and (7) action that can be taken to prevent the proliferation of violent material through new technology such as the Internet. In summary, let me say that it is vital that we do not slide any further into the culture of a violent society. Over the last few years, we have addressed the matter of our being perceived as a drinking society - that people in the Northern Territory were seen as bloody good drinkers and indeed that many people in the Territory perceived themselves in that way. As a result of promptings over many years from the member for MacDonnell, the Assembly eventually established a parliamentary committee to address the issues of use and abuse of alcohol by our community. This has led to many positive changes. Levies have been imposed on cask wines and heavy beers and the revenue obtained is being used to address the problems of alcohol abuse and to assist with rehabilitation. We have seen changes made in licensing regulations, 7040

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