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 Mr HATTON: 'You never know your luck in a big city! These alcohol-related issues are serious. None of us knows the answers. What we do know is that we need to work with the community to address them, and we need to address education, prevention,' treatment and rehabil i tat i on. Each of thbse aspects i simportant and must be addressed. We need to address the underlying causes and the social conditions in which people are living. There is no question about that. However, there are 2 sides to every coin. Whilst we do all those proactive things to try to dea 1 wi th the causes of a 1 coho 1 ism and the consequences of a 1 coho 1 ism and alcohol abuse, we have a responsibil ity equally to the rest of the community to say that, no matter what the reasons, people with alcohol problems cannot be permitted to impose disgraceful behaviour on the rest of the community. We db not allow drunken loutishness or loutishness of any sort. The community expects the government to protect it from that and to provide laws that give us the abil ity to deal effectively with that. Along with the educational programs, there has to be censure for improper conduct. This law is part of the censure for improper conduct. It is saying that we will not allow people to become drunk and harass people. If possible, we will not allow people to hassle people for their shopping trolleys in order to obta in money for a beer. We wi 11 not tolerate the type of harassment that the member for Koolpinyah and other honourable members referred to. We have a 11 had the experi ence of bei ng bitten at bus stops, outs i de shops and in the streets. Mrs Padgham-Purich: And having to walk through messes on the footpath. Mr HATTON: That is right. No one likes that, and no one should have to accept it. If people do it, they should be subject to the censure of the community by means of its laws. There is a law in exi stence now that says that people shall not dri nk. within 2 km of licensed premises. The community says that it is unacceptab 1 e behavi our. It is true that the purpose of that 1 aw is to prevent people sitting down to binge in parks, riverbeds, in the mall in Darwin or any similar places. It is unacceptable behaviour, and it should be prevented. This law was put in place to prevent that, but it is only part of the story. It does not affect our need to control the serving of drunks. We need to clamp down on that and also on underage drinking and to provide educational programs. Equally, we have said as a community that people cannot drink in public places within 2 km of licensed premises. As a resu It of experi ence, it has become patently obvi ous that there are deficiencies in the law. If a person has an opened can of beer and is drinking in a public place, a police officer can empty the can or remove it. However, the police officer cannot touch the other 23 unopened cans in the carton beside the person who is drinking. What sort of joke doe. that make of the law? Clearly, he intends to remain there and, as soon as the po 1 ice offi cer walks away, he wi 11 pi ck up the next can, open it and start drinking again. This ~mendment provides that, in such circumstances, the police officer may confiscate all the alcohol. It would be quite a significant act of censure for an a 1 coho 1 abuser to see his ent ire supp ly of a 1 coho 1 taken away. It is a greater penalty than his being taken to a sobering up shelter or being put in the cells where there is a warm bed for the night. He will lose his grog and he will not gain any benefit from the money that he spent 10 707