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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)



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





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 2 October 1990 should be occupied with. To add the further burden of having to issue receipts, take the alcohol, store it and then have to find it again will not be effective. That is my belief and I think the police feel the same way. Let us make it a little harder. If grog containers are open and section 45D, drinking in a public place, has been contravened, let us go the whole hog and tip all the grog out. If the message is spread - and this can be done through the media - that this will be enforced after a certain date, I believe the 2 km law will be respected in the way that it ought to be. It will have the effect of pushing the tribal groups further out and away from one another and that shou 1 d result in fewer homi ci des. Of course, I am looking at this from the Alice Springs perspective because we have something like 13 different tribes. At times when they are drinking, the further they are away and the more separate they are, the better. As for the Abori gi na 1 dri nki ng clubs, at present people who have a drinking problem and who are shunned by their own communities as a consequence come into Ali ce Spri ngs to dri nk in the Todd ri verbed. They are used to the bush and they drink in the riverbed in contravention of the 2 km law. I wonder how these people will feel about the Aboriginal drinking club situation and whether they will feel comfortable with it. I think that they would find it somewhat difficult. It may be a far better idea to provide areas, outs i de the 2 km 1 i mi ts, where peop 1 e can s it down and do thei r drinking. Such areas may not have any very fancy amenities, but .would provide places where they can go. That would take the pressure off the Tangentyere camps, and I do feel some sympathy for the people in these camps who do not wi sh town camp areas to be the place where the dri nkers - the fighters and the offenders - come in and disrupt the peace and order of thei r daily 1 i ves. I commend these thoughts to honourable members and I will appreciate their responses. Mr REED (Primary Industry and Fisheries): Mr Speaker, I thank the member for MacDonnell for his kind comments in relation to matters that I have written about in the Katherine paper, but I will come to that later. I believe that the 2 km law has been effective ,but perhaps not as effective as it could have been. Since its introduction, it has been the subject of considerable criticism. A frequent criticism in Katherine. is that it is not policed. The reason is that the police face a difficult task in enforcing it. Where people are drinking from a carton of beer within the 2 km 1 i mi t, the pol ice wi 11 empty any opened containers. However, before the pol ice vehicle has moved 100 m down the road, other containers are opened and the people are drinking again. That leads to the perception that the law is not being enforced by police. That is. one of the difficulties that have confronted the police in the present application of the law. The member for MacDonnell suggested that any revision or consideration of the 2 km law should be referred to the Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of A 1 coho 1 by the Communi ty, and I do not necessarily support that suggestion. There are some actions that could be taken now to improve the situation that we face in relation to the abuse of alcohol, and that can be done outside the considerations of the sessional committee without breaching the purposes for which the committee was established. I do not think it is appropriate simply to keep referring matters to committees. Here there is an opportunity to act. I think that the government should act, and that there is a belief on the part of the public that the government should act; I think that is what we are here today to do. 10 688