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 before the courts for a 1 coho l-re 1 ated offences. A 11 that wi 11 not change anything. The only hope lies in education. I am optimistic enough to believe that there is some hope for people who are already in the grip of the dreaded grog. I know that we can educate young people, people who do not yet seek the unconsciousness which alcohol provides. That is what alcohol provides for many of these people. It provides a means to obliterate painful awareness, and that is what they seek. I would hope that this parliament can devise some mechanism that will allow us to provide some hope so that we do not have to prosecute those who seek to ob 1 iterate thei r consci ousness. We may have to 1 i ve wi th that in respect of many of the peop 1 e who are in the gri p of a 1 coho 1 We can keep sending them to prison but if, as a collection of so-called intelligent beings, our only answer is to say simply that we will wash our hands of people and send them to the slammer because we cannot devise any measures which will provide them with some hope, we have real reason to wonder why the hell we are here. This legislation is only about getting rid of social embarrassments. In thi sHouse, we have never even attempted to address measures which might somehow' reduce or overcome this tremendous social problem which we face constantly in the Northern Territory, and this bill will achieve nothing in that regard. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH (Koolpinyah): Mr Deputy Speaker, recently, attended a meeting in the rural area wh i ch was convened, by the Women's Advisory Council. One chap was present, but the meeting was a well attended by women of different ages, not only from the rural area but also from Palmerston. Over the years, I have learnt something in this job which other sensible members of parliament will have learnt as well, and that is that we are here to represent the views of the people in our electorates. I have tried to do that in all the years that I have been a member of this Assembly. Whether, initially, such views are my own or not, they are the views of the people I represent and therefore they must become my views. In this case, I had no problem. I had no trouble in accepting the views put forward by these women, some of whom were older, some of whom were younger, and some of whom had small children. It became very clear that these women were sick and t ired of bei ng accosted and disturbed by drunks in public places. They were not wowserish women; they were ordinary women whom one might meet anywhere. I stress that because their views are the views of the comm~nity. ,They mentioned particularly the bus interchange at Palmerston as a place where they encounter problems of this kind. If a woman is carrying a child or pushing a chil din a pusher and she is accosted at the bus interchange by a drunk who asks her for money or makes vulgar suggestions, perhaps with nobody else present, she will feel rather unsafe and insecure even if the police station is not far away. Why should she have to ,put up with indecent remarks from some drunken lout or mongrel in the community? The women at the meeting had been in such situations or had witnessed them. The people who are accosting such women, and who are, permitted to board buses where they continue to accost them, are drinking alcohol within 2 km of 1 i censed premi ses, namely the Pa lmerston Tavern. I know that there is a law which says that members of the public are not permitted to drink in pub li c places with i n 2 km of ali censed 1 i quor out 1 et but, 1 i ke other honourable members who have spoken before me, I know that this law has not been policed as well as it might have been in terms of community expect at ions. I intend no slur on the police force. Other honourable members have given the reasons for that, and those reasons are accepted by the community. 10 692
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