More than a few of those who voted for the …

Comment on NT’s grog policy focus remains on public drinkers and drunk offenders by Russell Guy.

More than a few of those who voted for the Brown team must be squirming after reading your latest series of posts, Janet.
While the nation confronts a new report on its failure to win the Drug War, your team threatens to dismantle current restrictions on alcohol. Other places with the same alcohol problems are introducing more.
The nation is going deeper into dependence on drugs, including the legal use of alcohol – a gross hypocrisy that fuels “anti-social” behaviour – and you talk about “minorities and majorities” while fixing “big picture issues.”
Steve refers to Stronger Futures as “New Futures” and you turn the English language into an Orwellian prophecy, while boasting of silencing those who disagree.
The tragedy is that your policy-driven delusions will continue to be a soft-option that contribute to unnecessary loss of life and opportunity, but you think you’re taking a tough stance.

Russell Guy Also Commented

NT’s grog policy focus remains on public drinkers and drunk offenders
Janet Brown and her Councillor husband Steve, referred to statistical data as “idiotic” at the beginning of their Alice Springs Town Council election campaign, but weeks into it, they did an about-face and started using statistics.
Hopefully, they will have the same sensible attitude towards alcohol restrictions. Janet wants an end to all “race-based” restrictions, despite the fact that countries, cities, towns and remote communities with excessive alcohol-related violence are introducing new restriction regimes as a means of cracking down on “anti-social” problems, including self-harm and taxpayer-funded alcohol abuse, which is escalating into double-digit, billion dollar annual costs in our an increasingly drug dependent Australia.
Alice Springs has double the national average consumption figures, with 55% of NT road accidents attributed to alcohol and the the highest death and alcohol-related hospitalisation rates in Australia. The NT prison system is overcrowded to the point where police watchhouses try to accommodate the overflow and a very large proportion is due to alcohol-related offending. These are facts.
The sale of cask and fortified wines have been banned from sale in Alice Springs for six days from today in an attempt to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime, but Janet and Steve Brown are not alone in wanting an end to alcohol restrictions in Alice Springs, or, for that matter simply saying that restrictions haven’t worked when a floor price and a take-away restriction haven’t been given a chance.
The AFL and Easter Carnival restrictions deny the logic of such arguments. They, like those who continue to ask the randomly substantiated question “why should everyone be penalised for the majority?” are missing the point.
All agree that Alice has a serious problem with alcohol-abuse among adult and youth of all cultures, so there’s nothing “racist” about it. This is a spurious argument and makes no sense. In fact, one has to wonder if those who play the race card are aware that they are being racist – a word, which by definition and intent, consciously or not, is segregationist. It has no useful outcome and is socially anathema. This is a costly humanitarian issue, which needs a government intervention in order to protect its citizens from unregulated, free-market trade in excessive alcohol supply and consumption. There is nothing responsible about it.
The sly grog culture has been fostered since the 1788 Settlement of Australia, but the UK government recently announced a floor price to restrain this manipulative drug’s escalating and destructive effects on society, in a turn-around which should ring alarm bells in the land of beer o’clock.
Those who oppose attempts to do likewise in Alice Springs from an “anti-restriction” stance go against the trend to reform alcohol supply. These opponents have nothing but free market trade as an answer, but the industry can’t self-regulate, so just whom are they trying to fool? It’s been tried and it’s failing badly – look around, or listen to police road safety warnings, but still, the Rum Corps want to go back to it. This is essentially the AHA (NT) and CLP argument and apparently a large proportion, but statistically, a minority of Alice Springs voters in the Council elections.
Its been said many times that a multi-pronged approach is necessary to bring alcohol-abuse under control, which is why, in my opinion, a floor price and a take-away restriction regime should be added to the mix in an attempt to constrain a statistically-proven epidemic, undermining our society. If you think there’s a loss of liberty now, don’t apply any further restriction and see what will happen. This problem is way too big to be solved by law and order alone. Steve Brown talks about “guts,” but he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Statistics on alcohol-related death, poverty, declining productivity, and all of the above are slated to increase as Australia continues down the unregulated, unrestricted path of alcohol supply.


NT’s grog policy focus remains on public drinkers and drunk offenders
I’ve never accused you of “ranting”, Janet. There’s no need, you take the cake. You have nothing new to offer, only more of the same, but marching backwards leads to the ditch. It will be interesting to see which of your running pals will jump ship first.


NT’s grog policy focus remains on public drinkers and drunk offenders
The NT CLP Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy, Peter Styles, says that “people will still get grog even if there is a floor price as evidenced by the failure of the Government’s grog bans to stop anti-social behaviour.”
Mr Styles would be well-advised to stop playing politics, wasting lives and taxpayer’s money, and note UK PM Cameron’s comments (Guardian 23/3/12) on why his Government has decided to introduce a floor price.
What people are “entitled” to do is not necessarily the “right” thing. There are numerous examples of free-market regulation occurring in the alcohol trade, e.g. in Newcastle (Newcastle Herald 28/3/12) where a local campaigner had declared that there is such a thing as a victory for “common sense.”
Mr Styles and Ms Lawrie, the NT Minister for Alcohol Policy, have not mentioned reducing the supply of alcohol at the seven day per week take-away outlets.
Arguments for this range from freeing up police to tackle property crime and black-marketeering to attending to Mr Styles argument that people will still get alcohol despite a floor price.
Of course they will, but you have to start somewhere in what is widely recognised as a multi-pronged road to success. The West Australians are doing exactly this. It’s supply on which the Commonwealth is beginning to focus as a cost recovery and self-harm reduction measure.
This will make it harder, not more expensive, and assist in reducing the Government created dependence on alcohol. The CLP opposes free-market regulation, even though the new Alcohol Marketing Review Board has said that the alcohol industry “can’t self-regulate” which means that it’s not meeting its own standards which suggests it may be irresponsibly supplying alcohol to the community. Is that what you’re about, Mr Styles?
There are so many double standards at play here. How can an addict be accountable? Why foster addiction and then fine the victim? This is recidivist behavior by the NTG and the Opposition.
Federal Liberal front-bencher Christopher Pyne got it right. Mr Styles is out of step by claiming that the NT is somehow a different back-yard to the rest of the world when it comes to excessive alcohol consumption.
With respect, Mr Styles, your comments are those of a back-water politician rather than a progressively-oriented Shadow Minister. The NT deserves better than protecting “the bloody big drinkers” at the expense of the majority.


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

NT-SA agreement hardly historic
Paul Keating, in his 1992 Redfern Speech, framed by speechwriter Don Watson, author of the somewhat dryly punitive opus, The Bush, also claimed a historic mandate, announcing success for Reconciliation “within the next decade.”
It’s in the nature of politics to claim credit for doing something, mostly spending tax revenue and living in hope that it won’t run out.
In my opinion, the “historic” issue is just a beat up or a sop.
Pass me another piece of Bicenttennial birthday cake, please.


Greens on Pine Gap: Move towards non-aligned foreign policy
The Greens, once declared an “alternative” political party, inherited the structural social and cultural goalposts, but they keep trying to kick goals through them.
Kinselas’s, one of Sydney’s long established pubs, was recently sold through the Sunsuper-backed Australian Pub Fund for $22m.
It was purchased in 2010 for $10m, but it’s been said that it would have gone for $40m had the NSW government’s lock-out laws not been enacted.
Senator Di Natale obviously supports other supply-reduction measures, but dealing with the structural wealth of Super funds and their investment in the alcohol industry is a bit more difficult than continuing to bang the party political donation route to government corruption.
It would be nice if politicians who eschew liberal social policy when it suits them, could tackle financial regulation through institutionalised investment in the alcohol industry.


They must be joking!
@ Charlie Carter. Sense is subjective. Some people laugh when others don’t and vice versa. Cheers.


They must be joking!
From reading these comments over a number of years, there are a lot of disgruntled people who have moved to Alice Springs in recent times, who appear to want the place to conform to their aspirations.
They talk about “remote” and “communities” in the abstract.
They have no idea of Mbantua.
They want what they think life should offer, according to what they read in the glossy inserts or la dolce vita on television.
When the lights go out and it’s time to cook dinner on an open fire, what then, ye dreaming?


What the open letter didn’t say
End-of-day performances by the many local musicians, occurring in the Mall is a great idea for so many obvious reasons.
I did this numerous times in the 1980s with musos and it’s not that difficult with a small PA system.
It creates paid work and gives a sense of cultural belonging that cannot really be created by other art forms.
Music speaks all languages. We had occasional problems with intoxicated persons, but violence was extremely rare.
I urge the council to look at this again, especially where inner-city gentrification is forcing musicians out and replacing “live” entertainment with grog shanties. Goodness, people might start dancing again.


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