Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Tuesday 27 February 1990 notice. The police will not enforce parts of this legislation. Instead of rectifying a problem, the government will probably make it worse. Mr VALE (Tourism): Mr Speaker, I would like to speak in support of this legislation. The member for MacDonnell commented on the problems associated with petrol sniffing. From time to time, at least in central Australia, when one reads newspaper articles and visits some of the Aboriginal communities, one gains the impression that petrol sniffing and alcohol abuse have taken over completely. In fact, that is nonsense. It is not true. Whilst these problems have had a dramatic and detrimental effect on many of the larger communities, I can name at least 10 small Aboriginal communities in central Australia where alcohol consumption and petrol sniffing do not constitute a problem at all. The member for Sadadeen would know of at least 1 community to which I am referring. Sometimes, governments make a drastic mistake when they set up inquiries which begin by asking where the problem lies. They look at communities which are affected by alcohol abuse or petrol sniffing and focus their inquiries on them. To my knowledge, no inquiry has ever stepped back and asked where the problem does not exist. A study of Aboriginal communities which do not have problems associated with alcohol abuse or petrol sniffing could yield some very interesting answers. Some years ago, I visited Kintore. I was talking to the old men and some of the younger children there. Suddenly, a vehicle came roaring along the airstrip on 2 wheels. It spun around and came to a stop. A young lad got out. He was as high as a kite. He had a super octane rating. An old man picked up a hunk of steel, walked over to him and proceeded to give him a hiding. From memory, the hunk of steel was a crank handle, and the old man then set upon the car. He smashed the wi ndscreen. He then 1 if ted up the bonnet and smashed everything that was plastic or wiring. Later that afternoon, we flew to Warrabri. A young coloured bloke had taken over the sports and recreation responsibilities in the community. He had organised activities such as boxing, badminton, basketball and football and the rest. I spoke with some police officers, members of the Aboriginal council and some of the women. They said that, since that lad had been present, there had been absolutely no problems associated with alcohol abuse and petrol sniffing. The contrast between those 2 communities is the type of thing that needs to be examined. It is interesting that a football team with which I am associated in my electorate drew much of its support for many years from the Gap area or the kids commonly known in central Australia as the Gappies. A Marist Brother, Ed Havelock, worked closely with Aboriginal kids in central Australia. He said that, during the football season, the problems associated with those kids, such as breaking and entering, pinching cars and drinking, disappeared completely. Although this legislation refers to the general public and situations where people may cultivate, be in possession of or decide to be involved in the use of certain drugs, its implications are very relevant to my portfolio responsibilities for sport and recreation. Honourable members would be aware of the recent inquiry into the use of drugs in sport in Australia and the many revelations which have indicated that this is a reality regardless of our Olympi c idea 1 s. The preva 1 ence of the use of performance enhanci ng substances in sport is such that it is of concern to all i nvo 1 ved in the administration of sport throughout Australia. I support the intention of this legislation, knowing that it will assist in the National Campaign against Drug Abuse. 8841