Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3869 strikes and you are in. If you are picked up three times in six months, you are taken before a court which has various dispositions available to it, one of which is the ultimate sanction of imprisonment. Another one involved ensuring that a magistrate could return a person to a community. Another one would ensure that the magistrate would have the ability to order that a person not drink for a period of time. You have a different view. You have introduced an alcohol court. We will differ on the adequacy of that. There does need to be recognition on your part, and that of your colleagues, that dealing with alcohol also involves dealing with the people who are affected by it. In that regard, I note the dry towns proposal. We have been talking about that for some time. It will be very interesting to see how that goes. I note in your statement you referred to what is happening in Alice Springs. Early indications are good. Litter is a hell of a problem. I have constituents ringing me talking about the glass all over the place. They are very concerned about that, as you would expect them to be. It might never find its way into government media release but, objectively, you would have to take the view that in order to effectively analyse the benefits of the dry town proposals or trials, if you like, that a five-year analysis would probably be the mark. I suspect there will be peaks and troughs. Early indications are good, save and except for the litter. However, I believe, realistically, pulling the politics out of it, a five-year analysis would probably be on the mark to see, from a long-term point of view, whether things are seriously trending up, down or staying the same. I am sure you have given that consideration. Yesterday in Question Time, minister, one of the questions was how much is being spent on advertising campaigns at point of sale in a drink driving sense. I am not sure that you answered that question, but there is a role for increased resources going into that. I see you are nodding your head to that so I am hopeful that you can do something ... Dr Burns: I am saying that I am replying. Ms CARNEY: Clearly, the links between grog and fatalities on our roads is demonstrated. It is self-evident, certainly from looking at the relevant material. I know this is not a debate about speed limits, but I am obliged to make the point that one wonders why, when the effects of alcohol and driving and fatalities are bundled up as one and create the figures they do, it is that speed limits is apparently the answer. I am going through my notes. A point that the member for Blain made about the substance abuse committee, if memory serves me correctly, was that it was not a parliamentary committee when the CLP was in office. The member for Blain and my colleague, the member for Katherine, enjoy being on that committee. They feel as though they are making a bipartisan and effective contribution. It was a good committee to introduce and, of course, we wish the committee well in its future endeavours. Obviously, alcohol and marijuana are the important issues for that committee to pursue. Then, of course, we have the issue of petrol sniffing, but that is for another time. One wonders if all of our terrific researchers, the people in floors above us, were to search every Assembly of the Northern Territory, how many times the word alcohol would appear. It would have to be many, many thousands. I wish you well in your endeavours and hope that our successors are not going to be standing here in years to come talking about this. I suspect they will, which is terribly disappointing. However, if you, minister, can do anything to ensure that the word alcohol is mentioned less frequently on the Parliamentary Record of the Northern Territory, you will have achieved a lot. This is not just about words, but improving health and the lifestyles of those people who are affected by alcohol. This is not just peculiar to any one group. Even members of parliament, Mr Deputy Speaker are affected by it. Of course, we cannot help to reflect, as I am sure the member for Sanderson often does, on his behaviour last year when he was affected by alcohol and acted in such a lewd and crude manner. I wish the government well and thank you for bringing on the statement, minister. Mrs AAGAARD (Nightcliff): Mr Deputy Speaker, I support the Minister for Health and his statement on ways in which the government is tackling matters relating to alcohol abuse. The minister rightly noted that alcohol abuse is one of the greatest challenges facing the Northern Territory, depicted the situation facing the Territory, and outlined a number of strategies that have been put in place to deal with this problem. These are hard issues and they require hard answers and determination by the government to deal with the problems. Alcohol is, at its best, something that is enjoyed by most adult Territorians who enjoy an alcoholic drink with friends or family over a meal, watching the sunset or marking significant occasions, be they births, deaths or marriages, or as will be witnessed tonight around the world, sharing a bottle of champagne with their valentine to mark St Valentines day. Honourable members, I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Valentines
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