Ray, you make some good points amongst a lot of …

Comment on Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered. by Russell Guy.

Ray, you make some good points amongst a lot of tired old arguments, but running a small army of patrol officers and more police etc. has to come, not from government grants, but from a finite fund of taxpayer dollars which are largely occupied in policing alcohol-abuse.
I don’t know about you, but I pay my taxes and work very hard to do it, so I’m claiming the right to say where I believe it’s being misappropriated.
The cost of alcohol abuse in the NT is in excess of $300m p.a. plus additional servicing costs by police, health, courts, correctional services, etc, at the expense of education, housing, rates, etc. If we keep going like this, more will have to given to the great idol of grog, which is never satisfied.
What amazes me is that alcohol, the chief cause of this expense, including woefully planned and massively expensive Rehab options, is considered untouchable by Alice Springs councillors and the Leader of the Opposition.
They will not address the statistically-proven, nationally overly-represented NT consumption figures. The power of this legalised, under-regulated, out of control, lifestyle drug to hold us hostage is something for adults to behold, while kids stare and wonder.
I don’t think too many have the developmental focus to consider what it means for their future, but if it’s a tragedy now, what will it be like as lawlessness increases?
We in Alice Springs still have the ability to pull some levers and show the nation, and the world, what is possible in alcohol reform, but not for much longer.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Dear Eli,
Thank you for the invitation to participate in a discussion with you about the alcohol and its effect on Alice Springs. Yes. I agree to participate.
On the subject of ‘ground rules,’ I’m in agreement with Bob Durnan (posted May 8, 2012 @ 11: 37pm). You have invited Bob and myself, but do you have any other names that you would like to invite? You have only nominated those who have contributed to this debate, so far. I presume that you mean via the Alice Springs News.
It seems to be more of a forum, rather than a debate. If that is the case, I believe that it should be open to anyone to attend, because that is what will most likely occur. We have no way of identifying who has posted, but the success of the event depends on the quality of the input, so could you clarify if you would allow questions and contributions from the floor of the meeting or how do you see it?
I have no problem with Erwin being Chair, if that seems best to you. I think it fair that all media should be invited. I would like the event to be outcome focused, i.e., taking note of where the goal posts are and attempting to kick a few, rather than going around in circles.
I agree to Erwin’s agenda and his suggested terms as protocol on which to begin as it’s clearly a ‘hot potato’ subject, but as the Police Commissioner has said “police cannot solve the acutely dysfunctional social elements in this town.” I also agree with Chief Magistrate Hilary Hannam who has noted that alcohol-abuse “is the community’s greatest concern in the NT.” The Alcohol and Other Drugs Tribunal (SMART Court) is correctly named.
I’m not sure how the ‘live streaming’ would be governed – outgoing and incoming – it may distract from the discussion, but I’m open to further comment.
I’d prefer the meeting to be in the evening, commencing at approximately 7pm, so that workers can attend. What venue do you have in mind? What date are you considering? Please post your answers.
Regards, Russell Guy.

Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Ray, posted May 7 at 9: 02pm.
It’s time you posted with your surname, Ray. We, who do, along with the Editor, recommend that you have the courage of your convictions and it negates confusion from other “Rays.”
The recidivist statistics, which you ridicule, are posted at the AS News SMART Court reportage. Google the archives. I doubt that you are reading the links suggested, because if you were, you’d be better informed.
Like others, you totally ignore the positives because you have an agenda, or you refuse to see the incremental gains made by the SMART Court and voluntary restrictions such as a floor price. More posts are now supporting a take-away sales restriction.
The arrival of the Police Commissioner is another positive, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only salvation. The Law and Order approach is related to supply restriction and Rehab.
I have made reference to the bursting prison stats during the past three months of this debate.
Your comment about Aboriginal fathers “dragging” their kids to a lawyer, overlooks the verifiable fact that some of these kids you refer to haven’t got a Dad or Dad is in gaol. I know of many such cases which puts more pressure on extended family and commnunity. This is an issue that has not been disclosed by those who have made wild claims about Rehab solutions.
Your comments about taking responsibility, while correct, have been made ad nauseum. Try getting with the program and do a little reading, it may cure you of your disdain for evidence-based policy.

Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Ray, posted May 4 @ 4:24pm and Janet, posted May 7 @ 10: 13am.

Ray, I hope you’ve had some time to read the link I posted to the Overview of Indigenous Health 2011, published in January this year. I’ve been thinking about your use of the word “huggers”, in relation to those who show concern for problem drinkers in Alice Springs.
And Janet, I hope that you too will take the time to read that link, because it contains information on the long-term health issues endured by Indigenous people in the history of “the rules of this society”.
Both of you are dictating in terms of “go somewhere else” or learn to like Western society, justified by the right to drink alcohol and dismantling Indigenous institutions that allow for cultural difference. You want a return to the Assimilation Policy, but it’s a waste of time and taxpayers dollars.
Social inclusion is a more contemporary term. In the 1980s, it was called a Treaty, but it didn’t get very far, mainly because the dominant European society hasn’t evolved that far from the old Squattocracry. Some still want the blackfellas to go somewhere else, out of our face and out of our town, or “back to their homelands” as was recently posted. That ain’t gonna happen either.
This status quo has created some unfortunate statistics in which Indigenous have been disproportionately represented since the rule of English law arrived on our shores, but good news, the SMART Court (Alcohol and Other Drugs Tribunal or AoD) has arrived.
Part of the NT Government initiative to reform some of the carnage caused by Western-style, seven day a week take-away alcohol sales, cheap, nasty grog and early openers, the SMART Court stands for Substance Misuse Assessment and Referral for Treatment.
It allows the mainly alcohol related offenders to undertake rehabilitative programs, instead of being sent to Gaol, as would more likely happen under the Court of Summary Jurisdiction.
However, convictions including disqualification for holding a driver’s licence and community work orders are still imposed. Violent offenders are, controversially for some offenders, excluded, but include alcohol, cannabis and methamphetamine, and not all are Indigenous.
The savings to society, already evident in recidivist statistical data, includes health, policing,court and prison costs, leading to positive future benefits like full-time employment.
As the AS News has reported, only the longer term will tell to what extent the SMART Court can reduce re-offending and include rehab in the NT, but it’s a huggers court, where offenders are encouraged and rewarded for success.
It proves that the West is not intractable and that a more compassionate society can be created out of what Chief Magistrate Hilary Hannam in describing alcohol-related offences, is “the community’s greatest concern in the NT.”
[ED – Google SMART Court in the Alice Springs News Online.]

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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