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 rate of consumption of alcohol within our community, there are some straightforward steps that we can take. We can restrict the number of outlets. Indeed, we could reduce the number of outlets. Secondly, we could provide the consumers of alcohol with as much information as possible about the effects of their consumption on their health and the social effects of their habits. Nhulunbuy has numerous outlets for 'alcohol, including an hotel and several licensed clubs. However, a chain store there - and I will not name the particular store - has had a licence for 18 months, but has not used it. Mr Hatton: There will only be one. Mr LEO: There is more than 1 supermarket in Nhulunbuy. Mr Hatton: That is not a chain store. Mr LEO: A supermarket in Nhulunbuy has held a licence which it has had the power to exercise for some 18 months. Recently, it has indicated an interest in exercising its option to sell 1 iquor within the community of Nhulunbuy. As I know that all honourable members are ardent readers of that wonderful tabloid the NT News, I am sure that they are aware that there has been a great deal of community concern about the desire of that retail outlet to exercise its option. Despite that concern, in both the Aboriginal and the European communities, the Racing, Gaming and Liquor Commission seems unable or unwi 11 i ng torevi ew the application of that 1 i cente and the ability of that particular potential outlet to exercise its right to sell alcohol. We can spend endless time debating in this House but, until the liquor commission, in this case, and this House seriously consider what the community desires, as opposed to what retailers desire, we will be chasing our tails. We can write whatever we wish into legislation, but we have a real problem when the interests of retailers are allowed to prevail over the express wishes of the community because of a legal technicality. I appreciate the legal difficulties which the commission and the government find themselves in. However, when legal technicalities dictate such matters, as opposed to the broad community view, we will continue to chase our tails in this Assembly. I am a great respecter of the law. It is perhaps one of the few things which defines a civilised society. However, when the law is demonstrated clearly to be an absolute ass as far as a community is concerned, we have to question whether the law is serving the community or simply itself. I sympathise with what the member for MacDonnell said. I have attended too many funerals of intelligent young human beings not to be struck by ,the absolute tragedy of their lives and those of their families. I am sure that a number of members in this House have witnessed the dreadful human tragedy which overtakes some people. I do not believe, and I am sure that nobody in this House honestly believes, that prosecuting people will solve that problem. We have been prosecuting people for drunkenness since time immemorial. We have been prosecuting people for vagrancy since time immemorial. A member interjecting. Mr LEO: I hear what you are sayi ng, and it is true that we no longer have vagrancy 1 aws. However, we continue to prosecute people and put them 10 691
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