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_A~ug,-u_s_t _1_9_90 ___________________ _ that the government is prepared to exami ne thi smatter. When it rai ses its head to the levels it did earlier this year in Alice Springs, we are prepared to look at removing some takeaway outlets and to judge whether that has an effect. Personally, I do not think that it will have much effect because people can simply go somewhere else. I want to put on the record today that everyone seems to agree that denyi ng access may be part of the answer, and that some Abori gi na 1 peop 1 e are putting to me that we should deny access completely. I would like to throw an idea into the ring for the consideration of the committee. In view of the enormous costs to society today of alcohol - we are all aware of it, and it involves everything from road accidents to domestic violence and beyond - I th ink we shou 1 d regard the ri ght to consume a 1 coho 1 in much the same way that we regard the ri ght to dri ve a car. It is a ri ght that you obtain when you reach a certain age - 18 years at present - but that right can be taken away from you if you demonstrate that you cannot handle it or handle it irresponsibly. If you have a driver's licence, it can be taken from you if you break the laws relating to motor vehicles. Society will state that you have failed in your responsibilities and you will be penalised for a period or even for life. I am not referring only to Aboriginal people, but to all people. No one denies that the problem is pretty serious in the non-Aboriginal community. The only problem with this is that I cannot see a system working where we are all 1 i censed to drink and have to show our 1 i cences over the bar every time we ask for a glass so that the barman knows who is un 1 i censed. Cri teri a could be estab 1 i shed whereby a person would lose his right to drink as a result of an act of violence, being taken into protective custody 10 times or whatever. The problem, however, is for the licensees to be able to identify which people have lost their right to dri nk. In areas with small popu 1 ati ons, you cou 1 d revert to the 'dog' act whereby the local licensee would be advised that Joe Bloggs has had his licence removed. Obviously, that method could not be applied in our situation today because of the number of people and the number of licensed out 1 ets. Thus, my dil emma is that I do not know how to put such a system into place. However, as a legislator, I would like to, and I think the idea would receive community support. It may be that the community would require that a very seri ous and unden i ab 1 y a.l coho 1-re 1 ated offence wou 1 d need to have been committed before a person lost his right to consume alcohol. Perhaps the committee could ask the odd soul who comes before it claiming to be all-wise - and I hope there are plenty of them - whether there is an answer to the problem of identifying individuals in such circumstances. Perhaps we can come up with something if we all think about it hard enough and long enough. It is a pretty hard questi on. It may be insoluble but, if there is a solution, it would solve a lot of problems. It would not prevent such people drinking entirely because friends would supply them, but that would not be a reason for not proceeding with that course of action. There will always be problems. We are talking about how to reduce those .problems. I am hoping to commission some research myself through the Chief Minister's Department, and I am waiting for some further advice on that. I do not believe that comprehensive research has been done on the real reasons why Aboriginals, who have had a drinking problem, have voluntarily given up drink. I am pleased to say that there are many Aborigines who can say that they have not had a drink for 5 years, that they used to be 1 ike those people in the bed of the Todd, but that they gave it up. They had no assistance through AA programs or drying-out centres or whatever. Such 9960

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.