Hal: Mark clearly stated that “While the importance of executing …

Comment on LETTER: Taking no prisoners by Bob Durnan.

Hal: Mark clearly stated that “While the importance of executing warrants is clear, many of the people recently arrested on warrants are facing minor charges which will not attract sentences of imprisonment.” For the most part, these will probably be in relation to traffic, fighting and other public order offences, and failure to comply with bail conditions or DVOs. Most will be repeat offenders, or “recidivists”.
Most will have been raised in bush communities for at least some of their childhoods, but now living in Alice Springs, here for varying periods and a range of reasons. The reasons will be dominated by boredom with, and alienation from other people in, their home communities, and the attractions of easy access to alcohol and cannabis in Alice.
They are likely to have attended school, but only a little, so that their average literacy and numeracy levels will be, at best, around mid-primary school average attainment. They will mostly call “home” other people’s living room floors, verandahs, yards or a tin shed.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

LETTER: Taking no prisoners
The relevant flaws in the justice system are the lack of provision for community service as a practically available sentencing option, and the lack of home detention, particularly in remote communities. My understanding is that previous efforts to develop these options foundered on the problem of supervision. There were usually no sufficiently reliable methods of supervising the convicts in most remote communities. To create this capacity was judged to be too expensive. There may have been other factors involved. I think in some communities high levels of non-compliance may have led to political opposition to use of such options.
In response to your question: at present there doesn’t appear to be any easily identifiable solutions available or being applied to the problem of “how … our urban society is supposed to deal with these law breakers”. This is partly why many of us, probably like you, think it is so urgent that measures such as a floor price on alcohol, and days without take-away alcohol sales, should be introduced, to help provide a buffer to these problems. In the long term, the new early childhood and family intervention programs should help ease the rate of offending. Some Aboriginal family leaders support more radical measures, such as the introduction of an NT licence to drink alcohol, and extension of compulsory Income Management to cover more than half of welfare benefits.
Personally, I would support these reforms, provided they were to be applied to everybody, and I have called for more pressure on the recipients of unemployment benefits to have to accept available work, even if this requires them to move from home, provided they are psychologically able to cope with leaving home and have access to some affordable accommodation in the vicinity of the jobs.
However I also believe that – at the same time – governments have no choice other than to support more job creation and accommodation programs, to enable some of the less adaptable unemployed, and people who are unable to leave because they are caring for others, to do socially useful work in remote communities.
I believe this because there is simply nowhere near the amount of accommodation or conditions suitable for them and their dependents in the towns and cities where most of the existing services and work opportunities are available.
Any such new job creation programs would need to be better planned, funded and monitored than the old CDEP projects, which were usually hamstrung by important factors such as insufficient funds, and lack of suitable accommodation and other infrastructure needed to attract and retain high quality staff in sufficient numbers to guarantee strong planning, administration, supervision of workers, and training. There would have to be stringent requirements that wages only be provided for work performed properly. Participants’ wages also need to be at award rates, and as far as possible the work provided should be commensurate with their skills. Full-time work should be available for those who want it.
If I am correct in these assumptions, then we have a very big job on our hands in trying to persuade governments about these needs, and also to persuade great numbers of the taxpaying voters to overcome some of their prejudices and cynicism, and get behind such a program!

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Billen’s family: Make telling hotel where you trek mandatory
Ruth Gibbins (Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:55 pm): Monika Billen was not at Trephina Gorge, the park reserve about 85 km east of Alice, where the German couple, the Thors, died from thirst or exposure 12 months ago.
Monika visited a different park reserve, Emily Gap, which is only about 10 km east of Alice. She seemingly walked there by herself on a very hot day, above 40 degrees centigrade.
Monika was apparently found under a tree in a rugged area, well away from the road, about three km back towards Alice from that small gorge.
So she died in the bush about seven km east of Alice, but in the bush, off the road.
There is no established walking track through the bush from Emily Gap to Alice.
Sadly, Monika had been missing for a week before anybody realised that she had not returned from her walk to and from Emily gap, along a non-designated route, in the extreme heat.

Police drop MLA’s trespassing charge
InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:52 am): Your statement is highly confusing. Are you really saying that Bruce is like a perpetual victim, identity politician and social justice warrior, and that Sandra Nelson MLA stood him up? I know that Bruce has been a bit of an anti-fracking warrior, but I would have thought that your description of him is a bit excessive.

Firm ‘no’ from PM, Scullion to bailing out ‘bankrupt’ Territory
Evelyne Roullet (Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm): Re your question “Why does a Federal Government help a Labor Government?”
I could just as well ask: “Why shouldn’t a Federal Government help a Labor Government, or any other type of government, for that matter?”
Federal governments of both persuasions help state and territory governments in all manner of ways all the time, and why shouldn’t they?

End of search for Monika Billen
New Tech (Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:38 am): The police announced early in the search that they were making very extensive use of drone technology.

Drug dog sniffs out grog runners
Evelyne (Posted below on January 14, 2019 at 10:15 am) says rhetorically: “Is there a law dictating how much alcohol can be carried in a vehicle? No!”
I have no idea whether Evelyne is correct, but it is evident that she is not aware of the powers conferred on NT police (and now on the NT Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors, aka PALIs) by a new Commonwealth law enacted by John Howard’s Federal Liberal-National Party Coalition government in September 2007. (The Federal law was immediately confirmed by the then NT Government in complementary amendments to its NT Liquor Act).
From that time NT police have been empowered to seize, and keep or destroy, any alcohol when they judge that the person in possession of it may be intending to illegally on-sell it and/or has no intention of consuming it in a place where it is legal to consume alcohol.
This power has formed the basis for almost all the POSI, TBL and PALI activities outside liquor outlets since they were first introduced by police under the Henderson Labor government in May 2012, up to the present day.
So Evelyne, the amount of alcohol in a vehicle is irrelevant. The powers of police to make a judgement about the situation are the key factor.
As for Ms Roullet’s opinion that “People should learn to control their environment”, it is hard to disagree. What an excellent “motherhood statement”.
It is even harder to fathom how Evelyne thinks this might begin to happen, in any constructive, sustainable and just manner, without the great help of the PALIs using the special powers conferred on them back in 2007, especially in relation to those people who are generally the main victims of alcohol-fuelled mayhem and waste: Infants, other children, many women, the weak, the infirm and the elderly. Do you think they should all be trained in the martial arts and issued with tazers and mustard gas, Evelyne?
Under exactly what circumstances do you think people would be able or likely to “learn to control their environment” if they were again engulfed in a tsunami of alcohol, Evelyne?
Would you be there to throw life jackets to the victims of the excessive drinkers?
Or would you prefer to let the survival of the fittest apply, and more generations of children fail to get a fair start in life?

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