Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997

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Parliamentary Record 32


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 23 April 1997 political interests of the Country Liberal Party administration to have drunks on the streets, in the parks, in the mall and in the Todd riverbed at election time. I thought it was interesting to hear Commissioner David Curtis speak on this issue when the Chief Minister was fulminating about it in Alice Springs. He said that the Chief Minister wanted these people on the streets - for him, they are electoral fodder. What truer words have been spoken about this issue than those? Incidentally, that is from a person who has spent a very large part of his working life dying to combat these problems at a practical level. He played a leading role in supporting and enlarging the night patrols in Tennant Creek and in assisting with the alcohol restrictions to see what could be done about alcohol abuse in Tennant Creek. It is a political rort. If it is not a rort, why has the Country Liberal Party administration not acted on the advice of a former ChiefMinister, Marshall Perron, who stated in 1991: I am heartened by the attitudinal change evident among a number of Aboriginal groups with whom I have had some contact. In recent days, there has been a recognition that, at the end of the day, they can solve their problems. He went on to say: I believe that, for those organisations that are prepared to demonstrate a strong commitment towards coming to grips with these problems, there will be money available under a carefully provided strategy. What happened to that strategy? What happened to that commitment? Night patrols have not been supported in Katherine by this government, but have been allowed to wither. A night patrol in Darwin has not been supported by this government. Every time agreement is close to being achieved, the government pulls the pin. The member for Port Darwins own itinerant working group has not been supported. The solutions coming from organisations in my own electorate have not been supported by the government. The list goes on. The former Chief Ministers promise has not been delivered by the current Chief Minister, and Territorians are owed an apology for that. I turn now to the issue of violence in our community. Violence in the Territory community has increased significantly over the last 5 years. Assaults and robberies have increased and violence against women and children in the home continues at high levels. This is despite the pledge by the former Chief Minister, Mr Perron, prior to the 1994 election that people who beat their families should not vote for the Country Liberal Party because the Countiy Liberal Party was planning to crack down on them. Those were empty words. The Country Liberal Party administration has made some efforts to overcome violence, and we certainly applaud those and will continue with those efforts ourselves. However, we believe that it has not yet gone far enough to make any effective change in the level of violence in the Territory. We believe that this is because the government has failed to provide the effective research and data collection necessary to underpin government policy. Without effective research that establishes the size of the problem the areas where the problem is most endemic and the cost of the problem, the policies put in place will continue to miss the mark in effectively stopping the problem. Territory Labor will establish an inquiiy, which is independent of government, to bring together this knowledge and to recommend an action program for government. The inquiry will be carried out by Territorians experienced in dealing with issues of violence and chaired by a prominent legal person. The committee will inquire into and report on the amount and extent of violence in the Territory, the cost to the community and proposed solutions. In supporting this inquiry, a Territory Labor government will make available the resources of government to research and document the data needed to underpin effective solutions. We believe that, unless 11428