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 alcohol. It is very wrong to say baldly that Aborigines cannot handle the grog and that they are all alcoholics. Sadly, the small number of Aboriginals who drink to excess, or even' to what might be termed gross excess, is a matter of great concern to all of us. Of course, to thei r credit, many Aboriginals do not drink and will not touch a drop. Many are self-reformed alcoholics. I have met such people. Without education programs or rehabilitation centres, they have decided to forgo the booze because of its effects on their friends and family and, I suppose, because of the way they have often felt in the morning after a heavy night. We will cont i nue to pursue answers to the problems. I do not expect them to come quickly. I look forward to the report of the sessional committee when it has completed its comprehensive, evaluation. In the. meantime, I believe that the community seeks laws like this to correct practices which are quite unacceptable. Mr MANZIE (Attorney-General): Mr ;Speaker, some interesting comments have been made today. Members of the oppos i t i on have been most conspi cuous for their movement away from this form of legislation. As has been explained, that is fully understandable when one considers that they are obliged to follow their party platform, which states ,very clearly that, if elected to government, they would remove the 2 km law completely. It is important to realise that the 2 km law is not designed to prevent people drinking. It is not an attempt to lower alcohol consumption. Its objective is to provide a better environment for the community. As well as providing programs to educate people about the effects of alcohol, and providing controls on the ability of people to abuse alcohol, there must be an understanding that the community needs protection from the drunken behaviour of people who abuse alcohol in public places. The 2 km law is des i gned to remove peop 1 e who consume a 1 coho 1 . in pub1 i c places and who behave in a, manner which society finds unacceptable. This law does not prevent people from consumi ng alcohol, but it does prevent them from doi ng so in a situation which inconveniences other people. In such situations, it allows action to be taken to stop the consumption of alcohol. Mr Speaker, I thank honourable members for their comments and, I commend the bill. Motion agreed to; bill read a second time. Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I move that the bi 11 be referred to the Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community for its consideration and report as soon as possible. I do not intend to speak to th is mot i on at 1 ength. The reasons wh i ch underlie it were debated in depth during the second-reading debate on this bi 11 and government speakers have indicated that, unfortunately, the government does not intend to support this positive proposal. I indicate that, because of the strength of its feeling on this issue, the opposition will be calling for a division on the motion. I di d not have the opportunity to hear what the Attorney-General had to say when summing up on the second-reading debate, although my impression was that he did not say a great deal. Perhaps I will read his remarks in the Parliamentary Record at some later stage. Mr Speaker, as I sai d, I wi 11 not rehearse any of the arguments whi ch have been put forward. I do not bel i eve that either th i s bill or the. government's political motives in putting it forward should be supported. I 10 710
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