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 This amendment is long overdue. From time to time, we all have problems within our electorates. There is no doubt about that. I have had such problems in the Rapid Creek Water Gardens and in Moil Park from time to time . ' I am sure that other members have had similar problems where people have broken this law. It is possible to obtain a special licence to consume alcohol in public places such as parks. When I have had problems, the police have responded quickly, removed the offending alcohol and spoken to the people involved. Whilst I have had those problems in my electorate from time to time, they do not seem to be as great a problem these days as they were some time ago . This is a step in the right direction. More needs to be done, but let us put this amendment in 'place, monitor the situation and, if necessary, further amend the act. Mr EDE (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, no one on either side of the House wants the cont i nuat i on of the high mortal i ty and morbi d ity rates assoc i ated wi th the over-consumption of alcohol. No one on ei ther side of the House would deny the ravages which occur when alcohol is consumed to excess. No one, with the pos sib 1 e except i on of the member for Sadadeen, sees tota 1 prohibition as the answer. Probably every member of the House agrees that there are limits to when, where and how much alcohol people should consume. I want to be quite clear about this. I hate to see families broken up, and mothers and children going hungry. I hate seeing people lose their jobs. I hate seeing the projects which have collapsed and the careers which are threatened. I hate seeing the drunks fighting, in the streets or wherever, or men and women beating up each other. I hate all that. I hate being hassled by drunks. I hate seeing other people hassled by drunks. I hate walking in the vicinity of my office in Alice Springs and seeing drunken people giving other people a hard time, giving each other a hard time and giving me a hard time. Recently, I read an article about drunkenness as exhibited by groups of people in the United States. It detailed the various waves of immigration experi enced by North Ameri ca, commented on the s i tuat i on of Ameri can I nd ian people and demonstrated how, as each successive wave of immigrants arrived, particularly during the last century, the immigrants became the drunks. The drunken Irish comprised one wave. They settled in towns and in slum districts and, over a period of time, gained self-respect and power in their new country and moved on. It is not commonly known that the 1 argest language group among immigrants was not the AnglO-Saxons but the Teutons. The drunken Dutchman was a common classification at one stage. The phrase 'drunk as a Dutchman' originated in, the period when a wave of Teutonic i mmi grat i on was occurri ng in North Ameri ca.' Gradua 11 y, th is group got its act together, gained power, self-respect and the respect of their fellows, and moved on to better thi ngs. Then there were groups such as the Russians and Poles. The 'drunken Polack' belongs to this period. It was commonly asserted that these people were a mob of drunks until such time as they moved on to better things. The article pointed out that the situation of the American Indians had not followed the same pattern. In the main, it parallelled the situation of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. As the ,various waves of immigrants arrive, the newcomers move up the ladder, stepping over those who remain at the bottom. The article 1 inked high rates of drunkenness among Amerindian people with high mortality and morbidity rates. A very similar situation exists in the Northern Territory. Between 1978 and 1981, when I was Director of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the clinic was swamped at night by people with broken heads, broken arms and cuts to their bodies. It was incredible. Often, the place had to be closed a couple of 10 697
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