Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 18 June 2002



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 18 June 2002

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Parliamentary Record 5


Question for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Questions for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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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QUESTIONS -Tuesday 18 June 2002 Illicit Drug Use Link to Property Crime Dr BURNS to MINISTER for JUSTICE and ATTORNEY-GENERAL This week, the parliament is debating a series of bills to implement the first stage of the governments tough on drugs plan. One goal of that plan is to help break the link between illicit drug use and property crime. What evidence do you have that illicit drug use is linked to property crime in the Northern Territory? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Johnston for his question. I do not think government should make assertions about a particular relationship to base public policy without then providing evidence of that assertion. We have said consistently, from the time that we put our drugs three-point plan out to the people of the Northern Territory, that one of the major reasons that we want to take the action on drugs is its relationship to property crime. There is evidence around Australia of this linkage. The Australian Institute of Criminology, in their May 2000 report, said: Detainees, where the most serious charge was a property offence, 43% tested positive for opiates. Again, in the same report: 86% o f adult males detained on property offences tested positive to a drug o f some type. These are national studies, though, and we certainly want to provide Northern Territory people with specific information about what the relationship is between these two areas of behaviour within the Northern Territory. One way you can get a snapshot of that is the Supreme Court judgments and the transcripts of Supreme Court cases. These cases would be the most serious of the property crime offences. When we looked over the last 12 months of Supreme Court judgments, we saw 10 very serious cases of serial property crime connected directly to drug habits. For example, just this month the Supreme Court sentenced an offender for 36 counts of aggravated unlawful entry to residential, commercial and industrial premises; 32 counts of stealing. This crime spree occurred over a three month period between November 2001 and February 2002. The offender stole cash and property to the value of almost $106 000 ... A member: Minuscule. Dr TOYNE: Now aged 20, he has previous convictions for possession of dangerous drugs and unlawful entry. He has a history of taking amphetamines from a young age, and said his spree was driven by desperation to obtain money for drugs. His drug habit was costing him $200 per day to buy his amphetamines. It was quite clear where the crime spree was coming from. So much for the minuscule problem that we have with drugs in the Territory. Of these 10 cases - and I will table the details of those 10 Supreme Court cases - there were 80 charges of unlawful entry, 73 charges of stealing or robbery. He stole property worth $228 000. In three of the cases, they involved home invasion where the offenders were armed with knives. During the debates on these drug bills, I would like to see the Leader of the Opposition stand up and tell us why he thinks that the drug problem in the Northern Territory is minuscule, and why ... Mr Dunham: He never said that. Dr TOYNE: ... we are in any way unjustified in tackling the drug problem as a way of reducing property crime in the Northern Territory. Mr STIRLING (Leader of Government Business): Madam Speaker, I would ask that further questions be placed on the Question Paper. 256