Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975



Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975

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Parliamentary Record 5


Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly


Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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pages 457 - 498

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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 20 August 1975 things like that. They are assisting a good deal in these things. There is room for more initiative and more enterprise in this business encouragement sector. With the present price of tanned leather, it surprises me that one or two of the missions or settlements have not set up a tannery. It is around $100 now for a side of tanned leather. There would be scope for folk in this direction. The basic requirements of expenditure on these things would be fairly low. There is a wonderful basic set-up being prepared in all these places, with roads and airstrips and schools and electricity and water supply. This is called Aboriginal advancement which is excellent again, but it is a material advancement. It is really an Aboriginal settlement advancement, but it doesn't denote the advancement of the people at all and this is the saddest part of the whole picture-the people themselves are not advancing. Their buildings are advancing and their airstrip, their water and electric supplies are advancing, but the people are not advancing as well as they could. One of the reasons is the lack of gainful and useful employment in industry and the other is the scourge of alcohol in their midst which is having a shocking effect in all these places, affecting education and affecting employment. I go out to some of these places and I find half the work staff are missing after an all-night binge; housing projects are lagging; some work has ceased altogether and the interference with development and work is enormous because of the scourge of alcohol. You have to subtract this mighty figure from this Aboriginal advancement program and it makes a nasty appearance for those who know the truth about these things. I am not satisfied there is no answer to this. I am not satisfied that enough attention is being given to this or that enough effort is being made to overcome this thing. The Aboriginal people have a double problem. They have the problem of drug addiction which is inherent in alcoholism and they also have the problem of an age-old relationship affair. No man tells his uncle to work a bit harder or to do this or to do that. There are taboos of rei ationship which makes it extremely difficult for Aboriginals to do anything in relation to certain relatives. The town councils are hamstrung by this age-old relationship problem. In a town council, you will find that a certain matter will come up and no one will talk because that man is an uncle of 2 or 3 or 4 of 485 them. No word is said and no decision can be reached on many vital matters. This is a thing that we can't do anything about. We did have a cure for it years ago because the man who made the decisions then wasn't an Aboriginal, but now that the people who have to make the decisions are Aboriginals, this oldage problem of close relationships comes into the picture and it is causing great difficulty amongst them. It is nearly as difficult a problem as the Indians have with their sacred cows. The provision for school maintenance and repairs I find very good. I have about 14 Aboriginal centres in my electorate, major and minor; there are 10 major Aboriginal towns and settlements in Arnhem plus minor ones. Every time I turn my back, there is a fresh one springing up and I notice that some of these little ones are now getting electricity supplies and water. They are little bush settlements and they are proliferating greatly. The maintenance and repair of schools and things like that in these areas is a very great job and I am pleased to note that the honourable member for Sanderson has mentioned a substantial vote in respect of that. Mr BALLANTYNE: A number of executive members have spoken on fields that I had decided to speak on so, rather than duplicate any of those, I would like to speak about education, particularly in my electorate. The Treasurer last night said that the Budget was presented at a time of high inflation and, by Australian standards, high unemployment. There have never been truer words said and I am sure that, after we have been through the Budget, we would still come up with the same answer that he predicted in the first few lines of his speech. The Treasurer said that the keynote of this Budget was consolidation and restraint rather than further expansion of the public sector. To my mind, if you want to progress or you want to try to curb inflation, you must have some sort of buoyancy in your public sector, particularly in public spending, giving people more value for their money and keeping the dollar floating, perhaps even looking towards devaluation. During the course of this last year, we had a national disaster in Darwin which caused the government to hand out millions of dollars. During that year, they introduced a health scheme which will cost about $1,445m. They think fit to introduce these things when we are suffering not only national disaster in the main continent of

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