Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

Other title

Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 As the member for Braitling told us earlier, as recently as last week, a child nearly drowned in a pool at a motel. Luckily, an onlooker noticed that the child was in trouble, leapt into the pool and rescued the child. Equally fortunately for the child, Alice Springs Hospital was only 100 m away and the child came to no physical harm. Local government has carriage o f the by-laws at this time. My concern is that by-laws are not standardised and that some councils are not policing their by-laws stringently enough. There is no point at all in enacting by-laws if they are not policed. As a parent, I would like to see more Safety Houses where children can seek protection in the suburbs and in the city centre. My office in the central business district in Alice Springs is now a registered Safety House. I encourage all members to seek registration o f their offices which will enable them to contribute to the safety o f our children in a practical way. School violence in the form o f bullying o f the less aggressive students is behaviour that should not be tolerated. I believe schools and school-based community police officers should be firmer with schoolyard bullies. In a recent incident o f this nature in Alice Springs, had I been the parent o f the injured child, I would have charged the parents and the bullies themselves. There is no place for schoolyard intimidation. We should all be concerned that schools are places o f sanctuary and o f learning. In fact, we have invited schools to be Safety Houses as well, but how can they be considered safe if the children who attend the schools are bullied and physically violated? As parents, we should make it our business to get to know our neighbours and we should encourage our children to get to know them as well. This will mean that they can seek help from those neighbours if and when it is needed. If we know our neighbours, it is more likely that we will help them in their time o f need and vice versa. It is a truism that we tend not to help strangers. People living next door to each other should not be strangers. That is the basis o f the Neighbourhood Watch and the Safety House programs. We should be promoting stronger family units. I repeat myself when I say that, in Australia, our ethic at present is about individual rights. However, what has happened to the family unit? Taking up a point that the member for Nelson made earlier, that children do not just happen and that one does not become a parent by some act o f fate, I must say that I agree with her. For a long time now, the federal governments social policies have promoted not only nuclear families, but the breaking up o f families by providing pensions for people as young as 15 years who leave home. Consider what these young people lose in respect o f what they could have learnt from their parents in relation to parenting skills for example. Let us think about that. Parenting skills are not something that children learn at school. They are skills that are handed down from parents to children, mostly by example. With the breakdown o f the family unit, children are no longer exposed to these lessons from their parents. Slowly but surely, we are creating a population o f young people who have no parenting skills - young people who will, as a result, put their own children at risk. Parenting is not instinctive in humans. Many social factors need to be taken into consideration and instinct does not provide for social considerations. Society needs to consider that adults require training to become effective parents. Maybe it is time for us, as leaders in the community, to encourage parents to seek skills from organisations such as the CPE A. 1825

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.