Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 the form of tobacco to minors. It may not be the most ideal situation but, in considering the matter of dangerous drugs vis-a-vis alcohol and nicotine, we have to consider community standards. One could say that is a c.ase of the old cliche that 2 wrongs do not make a right! Nobody would say that excessive use of alcohol or. tobacco is good for a person. It can cause death. However, one would be turning away from history if one did not concede that the general community is more likely to accept the ingestion of tobacco and alcohol than the taking of drugs. That is a fact of life. There was comment about the mistrust with which children view adults. This may be the case with certain children and certain parents. Nevertheless, to some extent, there needs to be an acceptance of life as it is. We do not have a perfect"community. There is no such thing as a perfect individual or a perfect parent/child relationship. We try to do the best we can in relation to our children. In view of what honourable members have said about the mi strust that they believe children hold for thei r parents if the parents smoke or drink, it is surprising that there are any continuing parent/child relationships. The fact is that there are. Therefore, the chil dren need to be - although I don't 1 i ke to say it - a little cynical or it could be simply that they need to accept certain realities in life. By saying this, I am in no way condoning the smoking of tobacco. I do not smoke. I did many years ago, but it did not appeal to me. I am not a wowser. I drink alcohol ;'n moderation. Given community standards, I believe this legislation is what the community is looking for. It is seeking guidance in terms of government intervention in relation to the drug tak i ng habits of certain members of the commun i ty. It is not perfect legislation, but it will go some way towards controlling the situation. Mr COLLINS (Sadadeen): Mr Speaker, the debate thi s afternoon seems to be filled with vacillation and seeming contradiction. This is a complex problem, but I certainly cannot agree with the general theme of the opposition's consensus approach that, because so many people in the community are using marijuana, we had better go soft on them and, if they have a plant or two in the wi.ndow box, we should turn a blind eye. To my mind, e.ither it is right or it is wrong. I bel ieve the community expects us to provide a lead. It would hold us in grave contempt if we did not set a higher standard than the would-be consensus approach, the lack of leadership approach or, dare I say it, the Hawke approach of determining which way the wind is blowing and then taking a stab in that direction. We should put a higher standard on it, and this legislation aims to do that. I certainly think it is a greater lie to say to children that a little bit is okay because many people take a little, but a large quantity is very bad. That is more hypocritical than saying that, as legislators, we believe somethi ng is bad for the commun ity and that these substances do not add to the qua 1 ity of 1 He nor to the mora 1 fi bre and strength of the nation to whi ch we belong. If our people become dependent on substances, will that help Australia in any way, shape or form to be a decent nation? These substances are .around and temptations are put in front of young children and young adults. ~o doubt, each of us is tempted from time to time, and I am sure many would have become involved in the drug scene as a result of dares or what is called peer pressure. As the member for Koolpinyah said, it does not take them long before they are increasing the dose. I dare say that no person who has taken alcohol for the first time can ever know whether he will become addicted to it or whether he will be one of those fortunate people who can enjoy a drink in moderation. That is the 8845
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