Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 November 2016



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 November 2016

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Parliamentary Record 2


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 503 to 561


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 Thursday 24 November 2016 535 the measures he espoused remains to be seen. While it may be a relief to many, including me, if many of those promises are not implemented, the down side will be further alienation of those disaffected sectors of the community. I do not want to be seen as a troglodyte. I have always considered myself an early adopter of technology, with the exception of Twitter, and I remain a staunch denier in that area. Having said that, I fear the effect social media is having on our political institutions. It is far too easy in this day and age to create fear in the community and peddle simplistic responses. The answers to the problems we face are rarely, if ever, simple. I am one of those lefties so regularly derided by the right-wing media commentators of this world. For those people sloganism is easy; you identify a social or community problem, then you wind up fear and concern, but you never provide a coherent response. When you are a lefty or, heaven forbid, a socialist, the answers are never easy. Ms Nelson: Being a socialist is easy! Mr COLLINS: But the answers are never easy; they are always complex and difficult to explain. They are difficult to conceptualise and they cannot be distilled to three-word slogans or 10-second grabs. I get that people do not have time to listen to difficult explanations or the patience to consider problems that make a masters chess games look like a game of noughts and crosses. Simple answers and three-word slogans will never fix complex problems. All they will ever do is increase anxiety, disaffection and dissatisfaction. As I said in my maiden speech, it is incumbent on this government to begin the process of restocking lost community confidence and trust. This should be a priority of governments everywhere, but we only have control over our own backyard and that is where we should concern ourselves first. As the Member for Araluen identified in her earlier response, funding is a perennial problem for any government program. While there is no getting around this issue; we should bear in mind there will be cost savings resulting in the governments proposed approach. I hope the bean counters take this into their calculations. Success of the program will ultimately mean reduction in the number of children entering into the juvenile justice system and, as time goes by, adults entering into the justice system. As I understand, each person we incarcerate costs the Territory around $100 000 per year, so it follows that for every person we keep out of the system there is a commensurate saving. Not only is there a direct saving, the individual will generally move on and be a more productive member of society, a consumer, worker and effective parent. The economic benefits go way beyond simple savings. I, for one, want to see some effort put into determining exactly what those savings will be so the true costs of the initiatives can be understood. Whilst I am one of the older members on this side, I am also one of the few members with young children. As I said in my maiden speech, I have two young daughters, Sophie and Eloise, who are becoming well-known around parliament, mostly under peoples feet. I also have two older children. I have spent a substantial proportion of my life, more than 30 years, being a parent. For me, that means worrying about the health, welfare and future of my children. That is what I get for being silly enough to jump on the merry-go-round twice, I suppose. In spite of the failure of two marriages, I have four fantastic children who make me proud every day. I am fortunate enough that my two older childrenGrant, 30, and Alyssa, 28have grown into responsible, well-grounded adults. This is most likely the result of them being well-nurtured and well-prepared as very young children. As much as I would like to take the credit and say it was my influence, that would be unfair. I think it was their mother, Vickis influence. However, I think Vicki and I worked well as a team in providing a stable, supportive home life for Grant and Alyssa. Vicki was always a loving and diligent mother, ensuring the childrens vaccinations, health records and all their entertainment was up to date and well-recorded. While a stay-at-home mother, Vicki appreciated the benefit of having children attend playgroups and preschools so as to provide the best start for them and help them socialise and prepare for school. I remember my first day at school, sitting under a huge camphor laurel tree at Burnside public school, bawling my eyes out. My anxiety levels were very high. Things got better though. I also have memories of Grants first day of school in 1992 and it was significantly different. We walked together down the road to Kingswood South Public School and when we got to the gate he took off, leaving his mother and me

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