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 man who had been a cook in the RAAF. He was heavily into the grog and he reached a stage where his doctor told him that, if he did not stop drinking, he would end up in a mental asylum. He stopped cold. I have always admired that man for the courage it took to do that. He told me a few horri fi c stories about his RAAF days when they would make jungle juice from rice and cordial. He had a Squadron Leader friend who was a doctor and had access to pure alcohol. It reached a stage where the jungle juice was not strong enough and they mixed pure alcohol in with the brew. When this gentleman was leaving New Guinea for Australia, a couple of friends asked him for the brew that was in the making. He had a gallon of pure alcohol and he told them to add no more than half of it to the brew. Those 2 fellows died. He suspected very strongly that they added the entire gallon and that it took their lives. When the problems caused by a 1 coho 1 affect people one knows, the sadness is very personal. I know that the member .for MacDonnell has spoken on numerous occasions about his sadness when Aboriginal people he has known have died. I am not sure whether I should really mention this but, as you would know, Mr Speaker, I was late in arriving at these sittings because I attended a funeral service in Alice Springs on Monday afternoon. The funeral was that of a young lad who ~ad often visited my home as a friend of my son. On Saturday, he played his fi rst A grade game of. footba 11. I have it by word of mouth that he attended a party after the game and that the beer was flowing rather freely. At ,about 9 o'clock, someone arrived wi:th a motor bike and the lad asked for a, loan of it. The pe.rson who lent the bike was not aware that the 1 ad had had ali tt 1 e too much to dri nk. The end result was that 2 lads went for a ride on the' bike and hit a tree. One is dead and the other is in hospital in Adelaide in a pretty sad state.' Together with my family, I have' felt the terrible sadness of thewhole affair. How does one comfort parents who have lost their only son and sisters who have lost their brother? I have known these people since I came to Ali ce Spri ngs, and it really hi thorne. I can on ly sh.are the hope which the 1 ad's mother expressed to me that other young peop 1 e mi ght learn from this terrible accident. On Monday, afternoon, the Flynn Church was packed tight wi th peop 1 e, many of them young folk. Every seat was taken and peop 1 e were standing in the aisles. There would have been as many again outside. I hope and pray, as, ,this lad's mother said, that such a terrible accident will provide a salutary lesson and, in that way, at least have some benefit to other young people. There .were not too many dry eyes on that occas i on, and one can only hope that people may ,learn something from that tragic event. We tend to have the atti:tude that we cannot enjoy ourselves without grog. We need people who are, admired in the community, black or white, who are prepared to say: 'I can 1 ive my 1 ife and have a great time without abus i ng a 1 coho 1 or even touch i ng it. I can 1 i v,e. happ il y wi thout the need for an extra stimulant'. The chai rman' s report states, part i cul arly drawi ng on experi ences in the Tennant Creek area, that a 1 coho 1 abuse is a symptom and not a cause. I think that is true. There has to be some reason why people drink themselves into obl ivion. I well recall a story which Bob Katter told me when he was the Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Affairs in Queensland. He went to a community and told them tnat he wanted to give individual families blocks of land to which they could have individual title ~ather than having the land controlled by a committee. An Aboriginal man sat 1 istening to this with his sons. He was a pretty tough fellow and he said to Bob Katter: 'I have been waiting 20 years to hear somebody say that they would do that. However, you are too late. The grog is killing everybody'. Bob Katter went 9938

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