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 3873 same effect on alcohol prices as the licensing fee regime in place from 19921997. What has the government done about those recommendations? They are important. If there is one thing that is lacking in all this is the amount of revenue that is raised from the sale and production of alcohol, and the pittance that comes back for rehabilitation and assistance for those people effected by alcohol. Recommendation 60 is an interesting one: The Northern Territory Police, Office of Alcohol Policy and Coordination and the Inter Departmental Committee on Alcohol Policy should develop annual plans for random breath testing which includes targets for the number of random breath tests per year, and identifies hot spots and key times of year for testing Minister, I know there has been a debate here about the reduction in RBTs, yet one of the recommendations was that we should develop an annual plan to do that. One gathers the impression, from the questions that were asked yesterday, whether there has been a reduction in the number of breath tests. You are talking now about increasing it because you are going to have a highway patrol, but it looks like this Recommendation 60 could have been doing that some years ago. You must remember, the Alcohol Framework Final Report is dated July 2004. We are looking at nearly three years ago. Where have we marched on? In some things, we have; in many things I do not think we have. What is lacking in this statement are some of the key areas that relate to the bigger picture, which is not just indigenous drinking. The bigger picture is societal drinking, our attitudes to drinking. The first goal of the National Strategy was to: Reduce the incidence of intoxication among drinkers. I have said before that we have a society that says it is not an offence to get drunk and it is okay to be drunk as long as you do not do any harm to anyone. Yet, one of the goals of the national strategy is to: Reduce the incidence of intoxication among drinkers. Intoxication has harmful effects and generally means you do not have control. Unfortunately, being drunk is part of the Territorys lifestyle. I will quote the Chief Minister, with whom I certainly did not agree. This is in relation to a question from the Opposition Leader to the Chief Minister on antisocial behaviour and habitual drinking on 21 February last year. The opposition was promoting that drunkenness should be a crime, and the Chief Minister said: It will make drunkenness a crime, and for thousands of Territorians, it would put an end to a night out. Ask the Mitchell Street publicans what they think of that. To be an innocent drunk is part of the Territorys life That is part of our problem. It is so well entrenched that getting - pardon the language. Well, I will not use ... Mrs Miller: You had better not use that one. Mr WOOD: That might be a bit rough. Getting drunk is just normal. I am the patron of many sporting clubs and I know many people who think that is a great night out. That culture seems okay for non-indigenous people and yet, if we saw many Aboriginal people probably not even half as intoxicated, but just in the park shouting at someone, we would say: Horror, horror. Are we saying that to our own society? It is much harder as non-indigenous people, talking for myself, to change this culture. It so well entrenched in our culture that it is easy to say: It is those itinerants, those people who are humbugging us. Oh, they are terrible. Yet, we seem to turn a blind eye to the bigger picture which is that there is an abuse of alcohol in our society as a whole. You just have to look at the statistics. Even when you work out the percentage of Aboriginal people living in the Territory, the statistics do show that not as many Aboriginal people do drink as the percentage of non-Aboriginal people, except that those who do drink tend to drink to levels of high risk, which is unfortunate. The time has come. I am sure I used to see ads on television when Living with Alcohol was around, which criticised people getting drunk. We have to turn it around: being drunk or intoxicated is not a healthy thing; it is a sign of lack of control and it can lead to problems. Look at those figures for Aboriginal women who are dying from haemorrhagic stroke at such an early age because they have been intoxicated so many times. Is the example of non-indigenous people to indigenous people what has exacerbated the situation for many indigenous people? Another issue, minister, that we need to look at is revenue. How can we get revenue from companies? The alcohol industry is probably one

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