Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Mr BELL: Hear me out. I bel ieve that the social action approach has benefits and that the deterrent approach has some things to recommend it as well. I was hoping to bring an example before the Assembly at a more appropriate time. Without anticipating anything that is on the Notice Paper, I do not believe that the proposal from the member for Sadadeen is anappropri ate approach However, I will outline a deterrent issue which is of value and which needs to be pursued through the Sess i ona 1 Commi ttee on the Use and Abuse of A 1 coho 1 by the Community. This group of people is involved in a. descending spiral towards premature death as a result of alcohol abuse. Few people are as close to that group as I am. I believe that this legislature, through the Sess.ional Committee on the Us'e and Abuse of A 1 coho 1 by the Commun i ty has a respons'ibil ity to develop a mechani sm through whi ch to confront those people and to indicate that, as a society, we are not prepared to stand by and see them continue to drink themselves to death. This could be done through the courts, but I want the commi ttee to do its work be.fore proposals of th i s sort are made. I believe that it is already on the statute book. In fact, Senator Bob Collins referred to section 122 of the Liquor Act, which I do not bel i eve has been used in 10 years. Broad cons i derat i on needs to be given to the circumstances in which the courts are approached to declare people unable to be served alcohol. Mr Manzie: Is there any way we can approve that? Mr BELL: I bel i eve that exactly that issue needs to be addressed in the context of considering the whole range of p,roblems associated with alcohol abuse. That is one of the reasons why this sessional committee must be allowed to do its work. I will pursue this for a minute. At least 4 or 5 times on anyone day, somebody will come to my office looking for assistance with social security benefits and sometimes seeking assistance to book a bus fare back to a community or something like that. They are people whom I know, whose f cimlli es I know and to whom I am very close. I am cont i nu i ng to become more and more convinced that simply satisfying people's needs in that regard and getting them through the door as quickly as possible is not a satisfactory response. I might say that I often play the real paternalist when I talk to these people. I say: 'I am,sick of going to funerals. If it is not week after week, it is at least month after month that we attend funerals because someone has died as a result of alcohol abuse'. I say to them in Pitjantjatjara: 'I do not want to go to your funeral'. People laugh politely, thinking no doubt that I am going quietly off my head. They walk out the door and generally go back to the 'riverbed with another cask, beginning the whole cycle again. Mr Deputy Speaker I bel i eve that some sort of deterrent approach is needed to indicate to these people that we are not prepared to sit by and watch them kill themselves. We have done some things which reflect the type of social action approach favoured-by the left. Mr Setter interjecting. Mr BELL: In answer to the member for Jingili, we have set up soberi ng-up shelters inA 1 ice Spri ngs, Tennant Creek, Katheri ne and Nhu 1 unbuy. I bel i eve that those centres have ass i sted cons i derab ly in implementing a more humane approach to the problems of alcohol abuse. 10 682
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