Erwin has asked me to elaborate on my earlier comment. …

Comment on Council debate happening in closed meetings by Ian Sharp.

Erwin has asked me to elaborate on my earlier comment. I have limited net access at the moment so will be brief.
‘Law and order’ is a phrase largely used to refer to crime, and often reflects the user’s perception of the crime rate. That in itself raises lots of issues – eg see Adam Graycar (Aust Institute of Criminology) article on law and order. It’s a hot button issue and often used in election campaigns hence the cynical ‘laura norder’ term.
L&O is important to any society, but to think it is the basis, the bedrock, is simplistic. One thing the Taliban achieved when they ruled Afghanistan before the US led reaction to Sept 11 was a very low crime rate … but not many of us would approve of the way they did it. Hands up those who want to see hands chopped off!
What we all want in our democratic and pluralistic society to reduce crime as much as we can without resorting to extremism.
That is where the ‘rule of law’ comes in. It is our greatest gift from our British heritage … bigger even than cricket, fish and chips, the English language and Shakespeare. It is the bedrock of Western Civilization and needs to be prized.
The RoL is a broad concept that involves achieving social cohesion through ideas like every person / entity being subject to the law … including not just bikie gangs, but all of us, our governments, our corporations and even Clive Palmer.
The biggest potential threat to our liberty is potentially the government, hence the separation of powers, the checks and balances that limit the powers of parliaments, the executive and the judiciary.
It is important for any democracy trying to achieve the RoL to avoid ‘majoritarian autocracy’ where a government with a majority in the parliament / diet / Reichstag can legislate any law it likes. Otherwise you can have a situation like the early years of the 3rd Reich, the ‘blood and honour’ laws were made lawfully and supported by a majority of citizens.
There needs to be more than elections to establish which party has its turn in power, there needs to be ongoing respect for human rights and natural justice so laws seek to achieve justice for all citizens, in all ways, economically, politically and socially.
Only then can real law and order be achieved.
So we do need to take steps to tackle crime in Alice, but that needs to go far beyond CCTV cameras, and extra police and more jails.
It also needs to go beyond restrictions on alcohol, we need those, but we need more.
We need to see big changes in health, education, housing, employment … as recognized by the Federal Government and the Intervention. I think we need a cultural revival out bush, based on a positive sense of purpose, self-respect and respect for others. And us townies could aim higher too.
We need to see the big picture, and the long term, not just the here and now.

Ian Sharp Also Commented

Council debate happening in closed meetings
Good to hear the new council getting some non-acrimonious discussion going. All members deserve praise for this useful first step. Let’s hope it leads to positive outcomes.
Re ‘law and order’ being the basis of our society, I would say that is too limited. It is ‘the rule of law’, a much broader concept. I think this distinction is important and accounts for much of the disagreement expressed on this website.


Recent Comments by Ian Sharp

Zoning: Racial segregation can start in primary school
Trust a geographer to have a look at a map! And the stats. Good analysis Steff.
And her point is right, government schools are a good place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids to mix in. It worked for our kids at Sadadeen Primary and Anzac Hill High.
Trevor Read is a top bloke, did great work at ASHS years ago, but had climbed Jim Hackers Greasy Pole.
He is now the head departmental honcho in the Alice and is spruiking the official line, Sir Humphrey style, trying to steer us away from the obvious. But what can be done?
Would rezoning be likely to cause a shift from public to private, rather than rebalance the student mix? A great opportunity for some creative thinking here.
In my mind this is a bigger issue for the Alice than Anzac Oval.
Get together Steff and Trev, two good smart people, help Alice schools get back on track. For the good of all.


Elkedra jackaroo: station life in the 1950s
Another great read from the Alice Springs News Online. Takes us back to a different world.


‘Bring back school based constables’
I remember joining the staff at Alice Springs Highschool in ’86 and being surprised to find there was a school cop.
We had a couple of good ones, including Kym Davies, did a lot for the kids, including a boating expedition on the Roper. And kept the staff in line too.


Genocide in Australia – unthinkable?
Well said John Bell. I look forward to reading Tatz’s book now.


International flights to Alice would lower fares
I think there are tight restrictions imposed by international treaties that make this difficult. Also a problem in the US as detailed in a 2014 article which outlines some of the hurdles.


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