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 programs were not available as readily as they are these days. They themse 1 ves came to the conc 1 us i on that d ri n k was not for them. We cou 1 d probably explain it away by saying that the person probably became tired of having hangovers or wanted money to buy a car or whatever. Those are European perceptions. I wou 1 d 1 i ke to know the real reasons and they wou 1 d need to be sought by a skilled researcher. There are many tribal Aborigines who have voluntarily given away grog over the years. I would like to commission some research in that regard. If we can find a thread,' maybe we can bri ng some of the hard cases of today to the real i sat i on of what these people came to realise. The last point is the availability of money. ,It is very sad,to think that almost all the Aboriginal alcoholism, and perhaps the non-Aboriginal alcoholism, we see in the Territory is funded by the taxpayer through moneys provided by our welfare system to sustain a family with shelter, food and transport so that people are able to survive if they are ill or unemployed. That is very sad. On the bas i s of 'suggest ions that had been put to me, I suggested to the federal government that perhaps it should examine where it sent welfare cheques and the system where an Aboriginal could leave his community for 6 months and pick up his cheque in Alice Springs. I suggested that the cheque should be available only in his community. At least, that would get him out of town for a few days. He may stay with his fam,ily or he may turn around and go back to A 1 ice Spri ngs.I cannot recall the. exact phrase that the federal minister used in relation to my suggestion, but ,it was along the lines that I was being racist and was suggesting that Aborigines should be treated as second-class citizens., It is interesting to note that there has been some support around the traps for this move and a change of heart on the part of the federal minister. Mr Coulter: Especially since the 60 Minutes reporter thought it was a good idea. Mr PERRON: Yes. I think that 60 Minutes had a great deal to do with the minister's change of heart. There has been a heightened interest in the system of welfare payments in the Territory, and I hope that interest continues to follow through ways in which we might lessen the phenomenal availability of cash to Aboriginal problem drinkers. Let us work out some way to minimise that cash' flow without all being charged with being blatantly racist when actually we are'searching for answers. Mr SETTER (Jingili): Mr Deputy Speaker, thad not intended to speak in this debate. However, I was prompted to rise to my feet by comments made by the Chief Minister a few moments ago. Obviously, he is agonising over this problem, but he suggested that perhaps, as one possibility, some form of prohibition order could be imposed on people who are deemed to be habitual drunks or alcoholics in an effort to assist them to break the habit. I can reca 11 that, some years ago, Queens 1 and had that very system in place. I am not aware that i it is still in place now. Probab ly i it is not but I can distinctly recall that, in dealing with habitual drunks and alcoholics who were continually before the magistrates court, the magi strate had the opUon of issuing a prohibition certificate, copies of which were then posted around the vari ous hotels. There were no takeaway outlets in those days, other than at hotels. The certificate was placed on the wall of the hotel, near the t ill or whatever, and all the pub 1 i cans knew that that person coul d not be served alcohol. To do the same thing today, of course, would pose a whole range of problems because of the number of persons and alcohol outlets involved. It is very complex from that point of view. However, it is even more difficult 9961

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