Janet Brown and her Councillor husband Steve, referred to statistical …

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

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.

Russell Guy Also Commented

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
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.


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

Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Evelynne Roullet. Posted June 16th at 4: 37PM.
You acknowledge the connection between why so many kids are on the street and turning the tap down, but I wasn’t just referring to the meeting that you attended.
The philosophy behind the proposed THIS WAY youth centre, outlined in several posts, has made no mention of reducing the alcohol supply to the parents and families of these kids, despite my comment at the time that there is a connection.
As Rainer Chlanda has mentioned in his latest contribution to this debate, there were conflicting views at the meeting.
I don’t know if alcohol was mentioned, because I was unable to attend, but it seems to me that the philosophy so far espoused requires more input and that is why I have written about the harmful levels of consumption still practised and the liberal supply of alcohol still available in Alice Springs.
Surely, enabling the kids to return to a safe home, if they have one, in which alcohol dependency is mediated by turning the tap down, should be part of the equation.
You imply that it would have been off-subject and boycotted.
The continuing head in the sand denial of liberal supply is counter-productive to solving youth issues in a family-related way.
There needs to be a continuing debate about the flow of alcohol in town.
If you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.
The NT has the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita than any other state in Australia.
The Gunner Government has begun the reform.
My point is that it needs to go further and that community action, such as the meeting set up by the organisers of THIS WAY, should publically declare direction for government reform.
No Sunday take-away would be a useful place to turn the tap down for the many reasons enumerated over many years, not least the huge saving to government and a more co-ordinated approach recommended by Rainer Chlanda.


Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Ted Egan. Posted June 15 at 11:19am:
I think you know the answer to that one, Ted.
Since 1986 when Justice Muirhead proposed that glass flagons be withdrawn, due to their being a lethal weapon in alcohol-related fights, the packaging has changed and we have plastic bottles.
In the apocalyptic world of a shrill society that is being destroyed by the commercialisation of alcohol, there are proposed variations to takeaway supply for Tennant Creek and the Barkly: 4-7 for Tennant Creeks and the wider Barkly 12-7 Monday to Saturday. No Sunday trading.
The Licensing Commission proposes that the sale of the following products will be limited to no more than one of the following per person per day:
• 18 cans or stubbies of light beer (not more than 2.7% alcohol by volume); or
• 12 cans or stubbies of mid-strength beer (not more than 3.5% alcohol by volume); or
• 6 cans or stubbies of cider or full strength beer; or
• 6 cans or bottles of Ready to Drink mixes; or
• One bottle of fortified wine; or
• One bottle of green ginger wine; or
• Two x 750 ml bottles of wine; or
• One 750 ml bottle of spirits, unless one such bottle has been purchased in the past 24 hours.
Any person of age who is not on the Banned Drinkers Register can purchase that amount of grog six days a week.
A similar situation exists in Alice Springs seven days a week, with a floor price of $1.50 per standard drink.
The Gunner Government was looking at buying back takeaway alcohol licences from the critical mass of outlets in the Alice Springs CBD, but I’ve not heard any success of late.
At least it reveals an admission that the policy of the past fifty years of liberal supply has been disastrous.
I knew two young Aboriginal men, among others, Colin Proud and Ivan Dixon when I worked at CAAMA in the early 80s whose lives were destroyed by alcohol.
There have been thousands since.
Colin was a teetotaller, but the destruction of his world was too much to bear. Ivan passed away, also in his 30s, from cirrhosis of the liver. They would have been in their 60s now and good friends, I’m sure.
The sale of grog by Aboriginal-owned outlets and secondary supply by Aboriginal people is a fact of life.
The latter is vice, the former is unfortunate. The net result is the same.
It would still destroy people like Colin who lost hope in the apocalyptic world of a shrill society.
We haven’t come a long way from the Yuendemu flagon wagon. The government drives it around the track while people look on like a sport in the colosseum.
They probably think it’s politically naive to do much more or maybe, given the consultation over the Art Gallery, it’s what the people want.
The proposal for a 24/7 Youth Centre has no mention of turning the tap down.
The Gunner Government rejected limiting seven days a week takeaway in the NT as recommended by Justice Riley, but maybe we should be encouraged that they have proposed no Sunday in the Barkly and reinstated the BDR. It seems to have bipartisan support.
Perhaps, Colin may have been encouraged and gone on the BDR.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
I endorse Domenico and Hal’s comments below, although a lot of epitaphs on sandstone are being erased by time and wind.
Some are evidence of a more Christian society one hundred years ago, others are philosophical.
It’s interesting and reflective to wander through the older section of our cemeteries; to maintain, rather than deny present and future generations of historians.


‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’
@ Travis, posted May 27th at 7:37pm.
You deserve some kind of an answer, Travis.
I can feel your anger and I can understand how you might see the alcohol restrictions as “pointing the finger at black people,” but maybe it might save some lives.
To answer some of your questions, the tap is being turned down in some states, e.g. WA, NSW and Queensland, to my knowledge.
The coward punch comes to mind and winding back on serving some drinks late at night, but to return to the NT and your question about where the “so-called leaders” were after the legal right to drink alcohol was conferred on Indigenous people fifty years ago.
Very serious mistakes were made by NT Governments during that time. Allowing the density of takeaway alcohol outlets to build up in the Alice Springs CBD and making it available seven days a week, including at roadhouses, made a lot of money, but it has devastated Indigenous people.
Why this is so is not as simple as people taking responsibility for their drinking as you say “when it was all starting to go the way it is now”.
I have my own reasons, brought about by decades of living and working with blackfellas, side by side, making many friends and learning more than I contributed.
It would be easy for me to give up coming to this site and just go away somewhere to the east, where the living is easy, but my spirit might wander.
You would think that the so-called leaders would do more to turn down the tap on takeaway alcohol they have, which is patchy.
I don’t know why they don’t get the connection to culture. Hope it helps to know that there are some of us who understand the way you feel.


‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’
@ Alice Local. Posted, 26th May.
The ABC (16/5/18) reported that there has been a “drop in family violence” under the present alcohol restrictions which include Sunday-free takeaway sales in Tennant Creek.
“Police and support agencies believe the restrictions are behind a sharp decrease in domestic violence incidents in the outback town.”
This would appear to contradict your statement about the effects of further alcohol restrictions in Alice Springs leading to an increase in criminal activity.


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