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





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 concern regardi ng the demands that thi swill place on current drug and alcohol services. There are provisions in the legislation to allow for 1 ighter penalties for such people, and it could be anticipated that these woul d app ly mostly to fi rst offenders. There will still be a 1 arge number of people charged on second and third offences who will require drug dependency assessment. I turn now to the question of the provision of treatment as an alternative option. Just as there is no provision in the legislation for assessment of drug dependence, there is also no provision for treatment of a drug dependent person as an alternative to imposition of harsh penalties. I indicate and pass on to the honourable minister the experience in the ACT with the Drugs of Dependence Ordinance and of South Australia with its 1984 Controlled Substances Act. Both of the above acts have taken consideration of the need for assessment by appropriately skilled people with provision for referral to approved treatment areas where applicable. The view has been expressed that it is of vital importance that the government give due consideration to both assessment and treatment before proceeding with this legislation. In conclusion, we do not believe that the prohibitionist policy that has been adopted with this legislation is the appropriate way to go. We believe this legislation to be window-dressing, and window-dressing of the most dangerous sort. The legislation is not being honest with our children and with the Northern Territory community about the extent of drug abuse in the Territory and the appropriate government response to those problems. Mr SETTER (Jingili): Mr Speaker, I was amazed when I heard the member for MacDonnell say that he would not support this series of cognate bills that will go a long way towards inhibiting the drug problem that exists in our community. I must say that we are much better off than are the southern states because, from my understanding, the drug problem in the Territory is nowhere near as bad as that prevailing in some of the larger southern states. As a reason for his not supporting the legislation, the honourable member prattled on about it not including reference to alcohol and tobacco products. I do not know whether he mentioned petrol sniffing, but he might as well have thrown that in too and there are probably 1 or 2 other substances that he could have included. What absolute nonsense! Those issues are addressed in other 1 egi slat ion. These bill s are quite specifi c in respect of the substances that they address, and there are 2 schedules that list all of those various drugs. The honourable member went on to say that parents will not be impressed by the government's simplistic approach to this issue. Once again, I say to him that that is absolute nonsense. I can assure him that parents in the community are absolutely delighted about anything that government does in order to restri ct and i nhi bi t access by thei r chil dren to drugs, be they soft or hard drugs. How can he possibly say that parents wi 11 not be impressed by the government's Simplistic approach. That is absolute nonsense. He went on to say that the government is not being honest and that the legislation is too tough. This is an honest approach Mr Bell: I noted that it is unrealistic, not too tough. Mr SETTER: ... by government to address the very real concerns of parents in this community, and I think it is a disgrace ... 8834

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.