Territory Stories

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 times a night in order to allow people to clean the mess out with a fire hose. That happened regularly. I thought that perhaps things were improving recently when somebody said to me: 'It was terrible last night. We had to close the place for a while to clean it up because it was such a mess'. In my time, that happened twice every night. To attribute that change to the 2 km law is, however, to fall into the logical fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc - after this, therefore because of this. The fact is that improvements in the social situation in Alice Springs have been brought about as a resu It of soc i a 1 programs wh i ch have i nvo 1 ved Aboriginal people. Organisations such as Congress and Tangentyere are working effectively and strongly with Aboriginal people to improve the standard of their lives, and to lift people out of their feelings of powerlessness and ,hopelessness, their lack of self-respect, and their perception that others do not respect them. Those programs are making the major difference to what ;s happening and to the social situation in Alice Springs. The government has introduced this bill simply so that, before, an election, it can say to people that it will amend the 2 km law in order to fix their problems. The temptation on this side of the House is to let the matter go without comment because ,we know full well that people like the member for Katherine and others will seek to make pol itical capital by saying that the opposition opposed the strengthening of the 2 km 1 aw. We could decide to let it pass on the basis that we could rectify the situation after the election. However, one has to be fair dinkum with people on a matter as important as this. It is no good trying to hoodwink people by pretending that someth i ng will work when it is no more than a red herri ng des i gned to distract people and will make no difference in terms of solving the problem. That is not to say that powers are not needed. Earl ier in my remarks, I referred to s i tuat ions wh i ch I, hate. Such si tuat ions i nvo 1 ve breaches of laws other than the 2 km law. It is against the law to abuse and assault people or to snatch shopping trolleys from them. We have laws about such happenings, but we do 'not do enough to address the social problems which arise as families break up and children go hungry. We say that we will legislate to eliminate a problem. Legislation has never eliminated a social problem. Legislation can only set in train certai n powers. We have 1 eg,i slated already for powers re 1 at i ng to a range of liquor-related offences, in relation to underage drinking, and serving drunks with alcohol. I once asked how many people have ever been prosecuted under that 1 egi slat i on and it appears that 1 attempt has been made to prosecute and that there has not been a single successful prosecution. That is an absolute outrage. We are talking about strengthening this law when, in years, only 1 attempt has ever been made to prosecute somebody for underage drinking and that prosecution was unsuccessful~ There has never been a prosecution of somebody for serving alcohol to a drunk. Why don't we utilise the laws which we have already? Mr Finch interjecting. Mr EDE: I suppose the minister will tell us that there is no problem, that wholesale underage drinking does not occur and no one ever serves grog to drunks. The practice is rife throughout the Territory! Mr Finch: So what do you suggest? 10 698