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





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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 - Thursday 16 August 1990 bipartisanship, things nearly did go off the rails at an early meeting in Al ice Springs, particularly when some of the witnesses and some members of the medi a attempted to make mil eage because it was a subcommittee meet i ng. It was never intended that Messrs Poole and Palmer would be at the meeting, and we made that very clear. The situation was dealt with in a bipartisan fashion and the problem was sorted out eventually. Apart from that one occasion, things have gone really well and we look forward to some constructive input and decisions in the future. Mr LANHUPUY (Arnhem): Mr Speaker, like the Minister for Racing and Gami ng, I welcome the chai rman I s statement. At the outset, I wou 1 d 1 ike to thank Pat Hancock and the Assemb ly staff, who have worked around the clock to ass i st th i s committee i ni ts deli berat ions. No doubt, many peop 1 e are hoping that this committee will come up with the goods. Within the committee, we are aware of the hardship which the abuse of alcohol causes, not only in remote communities but also in the major communities. The committee has become aware of the fact that, whilst there are cultural differences, abuse of alcohol is a major problem ~herever it occurs. In my own community, I have been involved with many people who have experienced difficulties because of alcohol. I only hope that, as we move around the Northern Territory, people will come to the committee and express their views openly, whether it be to exercise t,heir right or to speak on behalf of communities or organisations. It is time that the Legislative Assembly real ised that it is a disease. In the Aboriginal community, we are feel ing it. We have received that message very loud and clear in our travels. People have said that they are losing much of their culture and they are losing many people. For example, a death occurred recently at Nhulunbuy which was alcohol~related, and it was a very sad affair. I would hope that, during the 1 ife of this committee, our discussions wi 11 bri ng out those peop 1 e who are concerned about the use and abuse of alcohol by the community at large. As I said earlier, our travels, even though they may be in their early stages, have been very educational not on ly for members of the committee but also for the staff that travel wi th us. I only hope that we will be able to share our experiences as members of the committee with honourable members in this House and ensure that what we have heard around the Territory is brought into the legislature and that it will provide some protection for our moral standards, our social life, and social human behaviour in the Northern Territory community. The committee is learning. Certainly, I have a long way to go on the committee. I look forward to participating as a member of the committee during its life in this Assembly. I am very pleased that I have been able to participate in some of these discussions and that I have been able to assist where language difficulties have created communication problems for the committee. As I said, we have found that there is a large and very real problem with alcohol consumption in the community and it is not restricted to the use of alcohol by Aboriginal people only. It is also within the white community generally, although it is more apparent visually with the Aboriginal people. The problem does exis't. It is a disease which I believe the community has to come to grips with. I hope it does not reach the point where we will no longer be able to save ourselves from this disease. I can only hope that, as 1 egi s 1 ators, we can come to gri ps with the fact that it is a disease, and speak to the people about it and educate them. The people will begin listening to this parliament and will take into account the respons i b 1 e attitude that we, as 1 egi s 1 ators, are taki ng towards comi ng to 9935