Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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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 13 February 2014 3433 move beyond our infantile bickering, our point-scoring and our mindlessly partisan politics and elevate this one core area of national responsibility to a rare position beyond the partisan divide. Today I call on my fellow members of the Legislative Assembly to reflect on that. I call on those on the other side of the House to stop the put-downs of colleagues, the lie that it suits Labor to entrench Indigenous disadvantage so people cling to Labor for support. Stop perpetuating the lie that we on this side of the House do not understand the day-to-day lives and aspirations of Indigenous Territorians and the hurtful slurs about authenticity, and that only CLP bush members are authentic representatives of Indigenous constituents. I respect you and the role you can play in Indigenous advancement for your people. We have heard many speeches from the Leader of Government Business that his government does not see issues through an Indigenous or non-Indigenous lens, and it serves all Territorians, irrespective of race. Why do so many of his colleagues go straight to that place instead of a mature and reasoned debate? We must lift the standard. The most hurtful to me, at a personal level, has been listening to slurs such as the one this week that I have no understanding of Aboriginal peoples connection to country. I will move forward as I know things are said in the heat and passion of this debate. I ask that this petty bickering stops, and I plead with members on the opposite side that it is time to move on and draw a line in the sand. Let us move forward together to improve Indigenous lives. It is time to understand we all belong to this place and to accept the broad family histories and circumstances of Indigenous Territorians. I appeal and plead today an important day to all members in this House to take heed of the importance of the 2008 apology, and call on you to move beyond the petty slurs on family, our variety of life experiences and our identity. Let us move on together to improve the lives of all Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. Mrs LAMBLEY (Araluen): Madam Speaker, it is with regret that I speak tonight to raise what I consider to be a significant matter of public importance. In my role as Minister for Alcohol Rehabilitation, I so often marvel at the wonderful work undertaken by our non-government sector. However, tonight it is my regret that I need to highlight what appears to be the rank duplicity of some of the professional staff within the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service. In particular, I fear it is letting down the community and the disadvantaged people it professes to represent. CAALAS professes to look after the disadvantaged in Central Australia, as do I. We have different approaches, but the CAALAS approach towards this governments alcohol mandatory treatment policy suggests it, or at least parts of the organisation, place political campaigning as a greater priority than its clients wellbeing. This is very concerning and disappointing. Late last year, CAALAS, on behalf of its client, successfully challenged the governments alcohol mandatory treatment laws. I respect its right to do so, and the rights of the courts enshrined in our AMT legislation to review decisions made by the Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal on questions of law. In raising this issue, I am not seeking to denigrate, or in any way comment on that decision of the courts or any participants in that case. I fully acknowledge, as a member of the executive branch of government, it would be inappropriate for me to do so. What I will put on the record, however, is the way in which CAALAS has chosen to react to the alcohol mandatory treatment system. I question whether, at all times, it has acted in the best interests of the community it is there to assist. When the government first announced we would introduce alcohol mandatory treatment, there were organisations that expressed their preference that we did not. I accept and respect this is its right, just as it was ours to implement our election commitment. It often seems forgotten we made a commitment to the Northern Territory people to introduce mandatory rehabilitation for the worst alcohol abusers in our community. We did this in response to the communitys call for action. We promised to do it, and I am extremely proud of the fact we delivered on that commitment to the people. In fact, Labors Delia Lawrie and Paul Henderson promised to introduce mandatory rehabilitation in 2010, yet failed to deliver on its commitment. However, I digress. When we introduced our alcohol mandatory treatment system on 1 July 2013, we invited both CAALAS and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency to attend the tribunal hearings to witness the system in action. Our aim then, as it is now, was to make sure we have an honest, just, and practical approach that helped those people who needed help. To its credit, in the Top End NAAJA accepted the invitation to attend tribunals. I understand it attended for about the first three