Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

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Parliamentary Record 12


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




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 14 February 2007 3855 disappointing that an Opposition Leader who says that she should, in the fullness of time, be Chief Minister, should respond to a statement that outlines governments agenda for 2007 by saying I was too busy or I do not have the resources for a response to this. The opposition has the resources that the Labor Party had in opposition. You turn up in the House and say: Oh, I am just going to make a few comments on this. It is an inadequate performance from the opposition and a real contempt of this parliament that the Opposition Leader should come in and say: Oh, I do not see one statement. Just look at the Opposition Leaders performance yesterday. There was one statement in this House, a major statement about the government priorities for the year, and there was no preparation done by the Opposition Leader for that statement. She put that on the record. There was one item of legislation in this House yesterday, the Professional Standards Bill, and the Opposition Leader could not even bother to be here to talk to that legislation as the shadow Attorney-General. In terms of the Opposition Leaders contribution to debate here yesterday, she could not turn up for the only item of legislation that she had to deal with yesterday, and then, when it comes to the major statement in front of the House, the only statement in front of the House yesterday, said: I could not manage to do anything that was constructive, so I am just going to make a few comments. We listened to the Opposition Leader who had nothing constructive to say. This is the opposition who says they should be government because they know better, because they have a better vision for the Territory. Was there any sign of that yesterday? Not a bit, not a bit of that. All we heard from the Opposition Leader was dismissing what was put up. Was there any sense of an alternative? No, Mr Deputy Speaker; nothing at all. The contribution by the Opposition Leader was superficial. She simply made some glib comments about the detail of the initiatives or priorities in the statement and it was negative, negative, negative. From an Opposition Leader who says: I have ideas about the future of the Territory, there were not any on show. It was simply a knocking exercise and a waste of this parliaments time. From an Opposition Leader who is very critical of government, there was not an alternative. Not one - oh, sorry, I take it back; there was one. There was a reference to the fact that we should reintroduce mandatory sentencing. Let us turn full circle and go back to the mandatory sentencing regime. That was the only idea put on the whole range of issues across the Territory from alcohol management, the problems we have dealing with alcohol in the Territory, the initiatives government is taking not a word from the opposition about whether we could do it differently, whether they would do it differently. On education, there was just knocking, not accepting that where there is such a deficit in the bush in secondary education, that we have taken strides no comment on that; just a dismissal, saying that there was not anything of substance in the speech. Yet, in key areas for Territorians, that is what we are dealing with. She accused me of choosing a sprinkling of issues I think important to talk about. Jobs! They are important. If the Opposition Leader tried stepping out the door of this parliament, she would find that a lot of Territorians are interested in a job. Health! Step out the door again. Education! Step out the door. Policing, alcohol management, the future of Alice Springs, the future of Darwin they are all issues that are important to Territorians. Yet, the best contribution the Opposition Leader can make is to say that I have chosen a sprinkling of issues that I think are important. The fundamental issues for Territorians are important. However, the Opposition Leader might have persuaded me in this House if she had produced a raft of issues that could articulate strategies that, perhaps, were more important to Territorians, but she did not. I thank the ministers who contributed to this debate outlining what their portfolio issues were. I thank our backbenchers for their contributions. As far as the Opposition Leader goes, it was a disgraceful performance. It was a careless, lazy performance; it had no alternatives, and it was negative. The Opposition Leader wants to look at her performance in this House yesterday not turning up for the only bill she had to debate, and not putting any effort at all into a major statement in this House is a real contempt for the parliamentary process. Motion agreed to; statement noted. MINISTERIAL STATEMENT Tackling the Misuse and Abuse of Alcohol in the Northern Territory Dr BURNS (Health): Mr Deputy Speaker, today I address one of the greatest challenges facing the Northern Territory: alcohol abuse. The high levels of harmful alcohol consumption among some groups continues to put many Territorians at risk. Too many Territorians are drinking in ways which put them and others at risk of gaol, injury, health problems, or death. The Martin government recognises that the negative impact of alcohol on communities, families and individuals across the Territory is unacceptable. As a government, we are intent on dealing with these problems in an effective and