Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 29 April 2008



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 29 April 2008

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Parliamentary Record 20


Questions for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record




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 29 April 2008 1373 grow the economy. That is what it means for Territory families. It also means that this is a government, on the back of a growing economy, on the back of population growth, that can increase our investments - not only in the physical infrastructure of the Territory, but the social infrastructure. We have put into the health system, as the Health Minister said, an extra 80% funding into Royal Darwin Hospital, on the back of a strong economy; into the education budget, for kids in our classrooms across the Northern Territory; and into our police force, to make a safer Territory for Territorians. That is what a strong economy means for Territory families. Whilst I am Chief Minister, that will be my chief focus and goal to continue to grow this economy. Crime Increase - Crime Statistics - Increase Mr MILLS to CHIEF MINISTER There were 3603 assaults reported in 2001, and there were 5536 assaults reported in 2007. That is an increase of 54%. In February, you said there is, a lot more confidence in reporting domestic violence and assaults to the police. Assaults under Labor have risen massively. Is it not the case that, instead of making the streets safer, you have lost control of law and order in the Territory? Why do you keep offering excuses that are not true? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. This is an ongoing series of questions across Question Times and I will keep providing the answer. This is a government that is absolutely committed to investing in our police force. What does more police officers mean? It means that police have had the capacity to put on staff directly in Domestic Violence Units in Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Darwin - officer positions that did not exist before that focus specifically on domestic violence. What we are seeing, as a result of the changes that we made - including legislative changes that allow police to actually initiate domestic violence and restraining orders, which the opposition opposed in this parliament. They opposed giving the police those powers to issue those restraining orders instead of having it up to a magistrate. What that means is that women across the Northern Territory have more confidence to report, because they know that police will be there ensuring that those restraining orders are actually enforced. Between 1 October 2007 and 31 March 2008, 974 offences were recorded for failing to comply with a domestic violence or restraining order a 20% increase. These numbers did not exist when they were in office because we did not have the police out there, we did not have the focus on this, there was no capacity for police to issue restraining orders, and no capacity for police to follow up and ensure that those orders were maintained. Assaults and how they are related to domestic and family violence: from 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008, there were 2679 assault offences recorded. Of that figure, 52% were attributed to domestic and family violence. These are figures from the police. These numbers are going up because women have more confidence to report. It is a tragedy, Madam Speaker Ms CARNEY: A point of order, Madam Speaker! I ask that the Chief Minister table the figures upon which he relies. If he fails to do so, how can anyone have confidence in what he is saying? Madam SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Ms CARNEY: You talk about them all the time, yet you do not provide them. Madam SPEAKER: Member for Araluen, cease interjecting, there is no point of order. Mr HENDERSON: Madam Speaker, these are notes that are provided to me by our police; they will be in annual reports and other public documents. The reality is 52 %. The NT News featured an editorial the other day about these rising assaults and also acknowledged, tragically - and it is a tragedy - that there is a massive problem of hidden violence going on behind our doors right across the Northern Territory. Unfortunately, in indigenous communities and town camps there is a great deal of domestic violence occurring. However, what is happening is that people are having more confidence to report. That is directly attributable to the fact that we have more police out there, dedicated units, and the capacity for police to issue restraining orders. For the Leader of the Opposition - and I have spoken about this over and over - to come in here and say violence and assaults are out of control right across the Northern Territory, does not do him justice in terms of understanding the nature and the complexities of the issue. Tragically, so much of these reported assault figures are domestic violence-related assaults. Those numbers are going up, and they are going up in a

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