Yeah, good one, Steve. Remind me to watch Groundhog Day …

Comment on Besieged businessman stands for zero tolerance but also calls for more ‘joy and laughter’ by Russell Guy.

Yeah, good one, Steve. Remind me to watch Groundhog Day again, next time I run into you in the Mall.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Besieged businessman stands for zero tolerance but also calls for more ‘joy and laughter’
Steve, the name is Russell. You are so petty to introduce fried foods into the “logic” of excessive alcohol consumption and its ghastly contribution to inequality in this town. Let’s see your analysis of the economic costs and income management program. You’re on the side of anarchy and you can’t perceive that your policies create prohibition. You keep to the one trick of law and order and I’d reckon even the police are tired of it.

Besieged businessman stands for zero tolerance but also calls for more ‘joy and laughter’
Steve, I’ve been reflecting on my response below and I believe I can make it clearer. I said that “the real issue is local leadership” in bringing solutions to the social problems facing Alice Springs, but in clarification, the qualities of those who aspire to it, should bear closer examination.
It appears that you are concerned by the fact that you can’t consume alcohol whenever you want and that includes cheap liquor which has a high level of pure alcohol. As I understand it, the reasoning behind a floor price is to standardise the price per drink at around that of beer – a product medically deemed less harmful than cask wine or “tawny”, for example.
Your reasoning is that “a few” alcoholics have made this difficult and you wish to remove them by “zero tolerance, law and order” policing, thereby bringing them before the courts and prison system, with no stated policy on rehabilitation or child neglect.
You appear opposed to any other method, such as prevention by restricting access to liquor supply and wish to maintain a 24/7 approach to sales, despite the cost to the taxpayer.
Have I got that right?

Besieged businessman stands for zero tolerance but also calls for more ‘joy and laughter’
Steve, thanks for continuing to ask questions about these complex social issues. There are five questions you’ve asked of me.
Individual freedoms are fine until they come up against legislation. “Judgmental group think” refers to those who vote for laws to remain. You can’t have it both ways.
Do you agree that sometimes we should relinquish an individual right for the good of the group?
This was the essence of tribal law and in many instances, it’s still obvious to those who have the eyes to see it in action around Central Australia. It’s called mateship in the way that it was originally forged in the bush, but it’s broken down in all societies now, for a number of sociological reasons. Selfishness is its adversary. Greed is its enemy. Accountability is a casualty.
Group accountability versus individual rights in this instance, is the right to consume alcohol at a responsible level. When it becomes irresponsible or excessive as it has, ‘responsible people’ are charged with an enquiry into why this may be so and our governments act on their reports or not, for the good of the people.
It seems to me that self-interest – individual rights at the expense of the group – is the quickest route to anarchy and that appears to be one of the sociological reasons for the breakdown in community mateship worldwide.
I have posted elsewhere that I don’t agree with the by-law that insists on property owners removing graffiti at their own expense, but I guess it depends on the magnitude of each case as to whether some just get on with it or not. I don’t understand Council reasoning behind it. Perhaps the Mayor of the CEO might comment?
Your question about your right to drink “tawny” 24/7 conflates the issue of a floor price with the need to supervise what is essentially a legal drug. I know this kind of statement may get up your nose, but it’s a fact. No other recreational drug is unsupervised and popular ones such as marijuana, ice, etc are illegal.
Hopefully, someone from the local People’s Alcohol Action Alliance (PAAC) who have chosen to make policy recommendations to Senate Committees, may answer you with a more informed response.
In accord with the research statistics that I’ve tried to present over past weeks, it’s my opinion that the current restricted access to “tawny, beer or cheap vodka” has produced an excessive consumption for which taxpayers, you and I, foot a hefty annual bill – not counting the cost of purchase or the profit made. Cost recovery is on its way, otherwise we’ll go broke in the lucky country one day. Some say, that we’re heading for moral bankruptcy as it is.
The real question which you raise is one of local leadership on responsible social policy for Alice Springs and I’m glad you do. A case can be argued that the “law abiding citizens” you speak of are responsible for “the few” not being able to hold their liquor and who may be drinking for different reasons than you. I think it’s more than a few, and that drinking amounts to high risk, excessive, harm-producing, consumption.
In the late 1970s, Prof. Colin Tatz described “drinking to oblivion” as drinking to forget. When you live and work amongst alcoholics as I do on a daily basis, you see the need for patient care and the truth of his statement.
This morning, I was forced to literally be a nurse bringing a cup of herbal tea to an 65 year old frail, talented woman and a peacemaker to an older woman who’d fallen foul of a store official. Sometime, today I have to apologise to a man who I was short with yesterday. He is a reforming alcoholic and I don’t want him to slip back to oblivion drinking just because I couldn’t take anymore. I’d really like it if you could see this through my eyes and help because some days, it’s too much.
Regarding welfare payment penalties. This is being trialled with truancy where children whose parent/s/guardian/s/carers are recipients. Since you raise it, my opinion is that, like zero tolerance law and order solutions, welfare withdrawal will penalise children and only drive alcoholism underground, creating a black market which is a reaction to prohibition.
Have you thought that the solutions you espouse create prohibition?
I believe that it would be preferable to further restrict or amend current restrictions to supply, so that all of us, primarily the police, can start to clean up the town and alcoholics receive the kind of care / tough love necessary to reform their lives. They need help as the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) has advised, to at least, manage their money.
I suggest that one outcome will be a wider business prosperity, a return to productivity / job placement and lives lived in equality.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
It was about a quarter of a century ago – how time flies – a few years before I undertook a postgraduate Master of Social Science degree in sociology, anthropology and cross-cultural psychology (JCU, 2000), published the core of my thesis as BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES: A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission 1940-1962 (Boolarong Press, Brisbane).
And it was before I did a further five years, primarily in alcohol dependency mentoring at a remote Central Australian community, this after 15 years of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations around the country, mainly producing recordings and events for indigenous dance bands, that I thought that Alice Springs would become a kind of New York.
People from all over the US move to the Big Apple in search of greater opportunity for their dreams and aspirations and it’s no different among the Indigenous of Central Australia.
But I wonder if local town planners have factored this movement into their vision for the future?
Not so long ago, the too-often criticised police were talking about moving youth back to their communities, but the word is out that the purposelessness and abuse associated with these desert satellites is causing enough concern to render assisted passage to somewhere else.
These problems were first mooted, to my knowledge, by R M Williams in the 1930s who noted that the desert tribes were on a collision course with liberal alcohol supply.
Fast forward to the Gunner Government acting on most of the Riley Report recommendations (with the notable exception of banning Sunday takeaway).
It’s no coincidence that one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in Tennant Creek, where Sunday takeaway is currently under emergency extension, is referred to as “the Bronx.”
It’s early days in the implementation of various supply reduction measures, but 40 years of critical mass in the alcohol supply infrastructure cannot be exonerated for the Shakespearean tragedy of progressive Western values.
Beyond the alcohol plague, assuming that it will be reeled in, governments will have to give thought to how remote community families and former alcoholics will be accommodated in towns like Alice Springs, with attendant social support and employment opportunity.
The concept of safe or dry, no grog houses or Mandatory Rehabilitation Centres, will need to be extended to entire neighbourhoods, rising above the refugee or migrant settlements of yore.
This type of housing estate requires considerable financing, planning and input if it is to be built and assisted to succeed above the expectations of many of those who are complicit in causing the tragedy of lost generations and future opportunity.
It will transform the current vision of Alice Springs, but first of all, it needs to be put on the drawing board.
Ursula Le Guin, the novelist who passed away a couple of months ago, recently said: “I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”
Tracker was one. Surely, we can learn from what defeated his vision or the Enlightenment has bitten the dust.

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
I spoke to Tracker a few times during the Robert Tickner period. One of his more infamous quotes was referring to Aboriginal people as a farm for whitefellers to manage and be well paid for producing the current tragedy.
Quite a few informed commentators are now talking about assisting those who want to move from remote communities into towns where employment and education opportunities either exist or could be set up to end the hopelessness and various forms of abuse that can go with a purposeless life on a remote community.
More than one is talking about overcrowded housing as a major cause of dysfunction. I’m stating the obvious.
If Alice was to be a centre for remote community refugees to retrain, restart and realise a future, who would build the houses and where would they be built?
Who would pay the electricity bills while the transition is fostered?
Would Tangentyere and other organisations be resourced to manage this situation?
Could it even be done?
Tracker seemed to think so.
The Federal Government did it to resettle migrants.
I recall Bob Beadman saying a couple of years ago that alcoholism would bankrupt the NT, or words to that affect and finally, we have a floor price, but in moving from generational alcoholism to the provision of basic housing, it appears that there are too many hard questions not being asked or acted upon.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
@ Fiona: There’s some kind of irony in appealing for symbolic unity under an Aboriginal flag when Kittles, an Aboriginal-owned company is continuously trashed by children of Native Title holders.
It suggests that there’s some other law at work and that trying to construct a body of politically-inspired law has limited chances of changing anything.
Whilst I don’t doubt the sincerity of your attempt to unify, I make the suggestion that the practical method of law enforcement, alcohol supply reduction and housing in Alice Springs for those who may wish to leave remote communities for education and employment opportunities in town has better prospects than adding to the divisions on the hill.

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22
@ Paul Parker, posted 1st March, 2018 at 6:49am: How appropriate was ‘Sit-down money’ and the ‘Two kilometer law’, Paul?
Do you absolve the critical mass of take-away outlets in the 5km radius of the CBD as having any impact on the situation you describe?
Generational alcoholism has something to do with the present historical ennui and the police have stated that they can’t arrest their way out of it, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on failures to deal appropriately with intoxication and disturbing the peace.

Bush foods: how can wild harvesters get a piece of the pie?
Good one.

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