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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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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Regardless of the cant and pious diatribes that have come from members of the opposition as they explain why they oppose this legislation, I believe that we have to consider the views of the community, particularly of those who feel themselves unable to deal with the irregular behaviour of peop 1 e who are under the i nfl uence of a 1 coho 1 Of course, it is a seri ous matter when one is accosted, abused or assaulted by drunken people, and I am not necessarily talking about people of one colour or another or one sex or another. However, nearly as serious a matter is the need to cater to the sensibil ities of the community, which will be dealt with by the provisions contained in this legislation. I do not use the word 'sensibilities' in a frightfully twee way. I am talking about the normal expectations of a community. I think community standards are affected by the behaviour of certain people in the community, who drink in publ ic places and then make nuisances of themselves. I have not experi enced it at fi rst hand, but I have heard about the problems associated with drinking in Alice Springs, and no honourable member has spoken of the effect this has on the women in that town. I recall that, when I represented Bathurst and Melville Islands some 10 or 11 years ago, the women there were very much against increased amounts of booze being brought to the is 1 ands. They were worri ed about the abuse the women wou 1 d suffer when the men overindulged in alcohol. I remember attending meeting after meeting on the subject. Meetings were called not only by the women but by the communities there, and by affected government departments whose representatives went over to Bathurst and Melville Islands. The story was always the same. Usually, it is the women who pay the price of the fellows drinking too much and, if this happens in a publ ic place, not only does the woman who is actually in the' company of the man who has overindulged cop it, but it 'is not unknown for other women in the vicinity to cop it too. I have not had experience of this unfortunate behaviour, and perhaps I would be in a position to do something about it if I had. However, simply because I have not had personal experience of it does not mean that it does not occur. As I see it, this legislation will go some way towards overcoming the problems of drinking in public places. I would not die at the stake for it, but I wou 1 d query the member for Mac Donne 11' s assert i on that th i sis the only jurisdiction that has restrictions on drinking' in publ ic places. I believe that Western Australia had restrictions under a previous government, if not under the present government. However, I could not swear to that. I tend to agree with the amendment proposed by the member for Sadadeen. His amendment seeks to enable police officers to seize not only opened conta i ners of 1 i quor but unopened containers as we 11, and to empty them on the spot. To my way of thinking, that amendment would streamline the provi s i on although it mi ght present problems at the actual scene. It could be open to abuse and it would have to be carried out well. However, I am i neli ned fo favour the amendment because I bel i eve it would save a great deal of unnecessary work on the part of the pol ice force because, if these unopened containers ofl iquor are not claimed within a certain time, they are destroyed by the pol ice anyway. There could be a 1 ogi st i ca 1 prob 1 em in that, if someone has a couple of cartons and a couple of casks with him in the mall because he intends to have a drinking session with his mates, and the pol ice empty all those containers, the mall wi 11 be awash with a 1 coho 1 Whilst I am in favour of the amendment circulated by the member for Sadadeen, I think the practicalities of its application would militate against its implementation. The Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community was to have held a hearing last week and I did wish to appear 10 693