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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 Another report recommendation is that local government and planning authorities consider public safety and crime prevention in their planning proposals. While these issues are obviously considered by local government and town planners, they will be more generally examined under the auspices of the local I Fight Crime ' committees which are being set up in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. In conclusion, I draw honourable members ' attention to the recommendation that the Commonwealth, state and territory governments each appoint a body to coordinate implementation of the report1s recommendations. In fact, the composition of a Territory body is under consideration. I commend the report and assure honourable members that the government wi 11 use it as a basi s for redoubl ing its efforts to make the Territory a safer place for all Territorians. Mr Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I want to make a couple of comments in respect of the statement and the final report of the National Committee on Violence. I note the comments of the Chief Minister and I believe that there are some important lessons for the Territory in this report. In one sense, they are new issues for this Assembly. I have addressed them at varioU's times, but I think that it is worth bringing them together in a debate such as this. I refer honourable members to page xxiii in the executive summary of the report whi ch dea 1 s with percept i on s of. vi 01 ence and the perception by individuals of how they may be subject to violence or of their chances of being victims. Obviously, in a climate that set up the National Committee on Violence, with the Hoddle Street massacre and the Queen Street killings, which were random, apparently unmotivated, anonymous killings, such activity naturally raises the fears of ordinary people that they may themselves become victims. I believe that, as leaders in the community and parliamentarians, we have a responsibility not to play on that fear but to cast it in realistic terms, and I refer honourable members to page xxiii in the executive summary of this report where the committee made the following observations: Australia is a less violent place today than it was during the period from its establishment as a penal colony until federation. However, it is more violent than it was before the Second World War. I will return to that point in a minute. The rate of homicide in Australia is relatively low by international standards and has shown no significant change over the past 20 years. I am sure that many people be 1 i eve tha t they a re more 1 i ke 1 y to be the victim of homicide in 1990 than they were in 1970, which is the 20-year period that is referred to there. The fact is that the rate of homicide has shown no significant change over the past 20 years. I will come back to that statement in a moment, but I ask honourable members to pick up the point that Australia is more violent than it was before the World War II because the committee went on to say that rates of violent crime are not evenly distributed across Australia. For example, they tend to be higher in large cities than in country areas. Mr Speaker, I suggest to you that there is a connection between those 2 things, and that that is one of the reasons why, in one respect, we are fortunate in the 8740