Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Thursday 16 August 1990 and the reason for that is worth cons i deri ng as well. I suggest that our attitude to booze is ambivalent. Those provisions of the Liquor Act are an area in which the committee has more work to do. Another issue needs to be brought out. The chairman touched on it in his statement when he referred to alcohol as a symptom and not a cause. I think that we have more work to do too in examining the connection between alcohol abuse and the lack of employment opportunities, particularly in the Aboriginal community. I have talked about this subject at length in the Assembly before and I will not do so again today. However, the issues of lack of employment and lack of occupation which underlie alcohol problems in the Aboriginal community need to be addressed. The same applies in respect of alcohol abuse in the non-Aboriginal community. The factors which lead to alcohol abuse in the non-Aboriginal community are different and include, for example, isolation and the relative lack of extended family for many white fellows living in the Territory. The work of the committee must be ongoing. The Assembly should not expect this committee to say: 'Right, we have done our job. That is the end of it'. I would be very disappointed, for example, if I did not have the opportun ity to go back and tal k to the peop 1 e to whom we spoke at the camp just to the north of Tennant Creek. Its name escapes me at the moment, but I found that a very fruitful dialogue with a group of people who were deep ly concerned about the issues. We have a respons i bi 1 ity to go back to them in 6 or 12 months, or maybe longer. The process should be ongoing. It is my bel ief that the sessional committee should be renewed with each sess i on of parl i ament until booze ceases to be such a huge prob 1 em in the Territory community. To conclude then, it is obvious that many other issues could be raised and examples given. However, I have given some indication of the importance of the activities of the committee to date and its future activities. Once again, I welcome the statement from the chairman. I thank members of the commi ttee and I look forward to worki ng wi th them to all evi ate some of the traumatic evil which booze is causing in the lives of so many people in the Territory. Mr FINCH (Racing and Gaming): Mr Speaker, I wish to endorse wholeheartedly the comments of the member for MacDonnell in so far as they relate to the bipartisan nature of the committee. That is not likely to make headlines or even page 14 of the NT News. Perhaps the committee should place an advertisement in the newspaper just to let people know how bipartisan its approach has been. It is an extremely important aspect of the committee's approach and is perhaps what is most likely to assist us in finding some meaningful solutions. Whilst the approach within the committee has been bipartisan, there has been the odd lolly-fight outside the committee. The member for MacDonnell refrained from making too much comment on those disputes and I wi 11 not do so either. Submissions to the committee and appearances before it have not always been non-pol itical either. Some have been quite provocative, and that not necessarily in one direction only. Despite all that and despite even, at times, being under a fair amount of pressure from people giving evidence, members of the committee have taken a fairly cool approach and we seem not to have become too ruffled. The experience has been enlightening to all of us. I have discovered that some of the problems we witness in central Australia are quite different from those which exist in the Top End. I am sure that the member 9933