Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 2 October 1990 before that committee. Whilst not being a wowser, provided I do not intend to drive, if I am at home or am in a social situation, I like to have a few drinks, and perhaps sometimes it is more than a few drinks, but also I am aware that alcohol has to be your servant rather than your master. It is a very good servant to have, but it makes a very bad master. If we are to consider the damage that overindulgence in alcohol leads to, I think we have also to consider the opportunities people have to buy alcohol. Whilst I am not in favour of prohibition as such, because I think prohibition would only create the situation that existed in the United States in the 1930s, nevertheless I believe that alcohol is perhaps a little too freely available in the Northern Territory. A serious exami nat i on has to be made of the hours that all these establ i shments are open, the types of estab 1 i shments they are and where they are situated. Having regard to the fact that we cannot close liquor outlets to one group of people, the community should be considered as a homogeneous group, not as small ethnic groups. A place should not be c,losed or have its trading hours restricted for the benefit of one section of the community. Its trading has to be considered to be detrimental to the community as a whole. before that happens. All groups must be equally subject to the provisions of the legislation. On television and in the press, I have seen and read about the meetings of Aboriginal women from outstations and outlying areas from Al ice Springs protesting against the overindulgence in alcohol by menfolk, and making a general request that government payments, such as social security payments, be paid to the place of origin of the men, which would be the places o.utin the bush away. from Alice Springs. It was stated that they thought that, as a consequence, the men would not have such free access to booze and, as, a result, the women's liv.es and the lives of their children would be much happier. If this legislation is passed, no doubt some of its provisions, such as the emptying of liquor containers, will appear draconian. However, I think the lesson might sink in. Some of the people affected - and I believe they are mostly men - may realise that it is not a good thing to be drinking in pub li c places. Even if it encourages on ly a few of them to stay at home wi th thei r wi ves and famil i es and not to spend so much money on booze, I think this legislation will have achieved something. I speak in favour of it not only in relation to the Aboriginal drinking problem, as I have heard about it in Al ice Springs, but also as it would apply to the drinking problem elsewhere in the community. Mr SETTER (J i ngil i) : Mr Speaker, the problem of excess ive a 1 coho 1 consumption has existed in the Northern Territory for a long time. I have been scanning through a Hansard from 1982, when the original Summary Offences Bill was introduced into this House. I noted. that the honourable minister indicated that it came into operation on 1 January 1983. The type of debates held then were very similar to the type of debate that is being held today. We still have the same kinds of problems. In fact, I noted particularly some of the comments and interjections made by the. member for MacDonnell who said essentially the same things today as he said all those years ago. He has not changed much either. I can confirm the comment made by my colleagues earlier that' this problem dates right back to 1982-83. Years ago, I can recall seeing Jarge groups of people sitting around on vacant blocks in this city consuming copious quantities of alcohol, be it cartons of beer or flagons of wine. Those people would sit there hour after hour and, eventually, that vacant 10 694
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