Dear Eli, Thank you for the invitation to participate in a …

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.

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.

Russell Guy Also Commented

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.]


Female tourists sleeping in car alleged to have been sexually assaulted: all three suspects now charged, rifle still not recovered.
Rex and Ray, I recommend you Google the Overview of Australian Indigenous Health Status 2011, pub. 1/12 @ www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au. I’ve presented those stats several times, but if you go into the Alice Springs News archive and search under my name, you’ll see the more salient stats.
In relation to your claim that there are no stats on CONSUMPTION, the NTG (22/2/11) stated that “Territorians consume alcohol at 1.5 times the national average” and I underestimated the cost of that abuse at $642m p.a. See also PAAC release (1/4/11).


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ My Opinion, posted 20.2.18. 12:22pm:
I’m an amateur historian, but there’s an argument that the geo-political climate that caused Great Britain to raise the Union Jack over what became the colonies turned out to Australia’s advantage. At least, wisdom in hindsight suggests it so.
Indigenous or First Nations people suffered beyond measure and today assert a form of sovereignty through a limited Native Title that is not altogether historically retroactive, leading to social issues bundled together under slogans such as Closing the Gap.
There is always a relative unity among all peoples constituting a nation, but what seems undeniable is that united we stand, divided we fall.
Councils around the country fly the Aboriginal flag, but not, it seems, all that often from military sites, which still serve to unite a country in a geo-political sense, most often concerned with sovereign borders.
The social problems remain, so do other strategic sites from which the Aboriginal flag can be flown as a symbol of unity within the Alice community.


Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops
@ Surprised. Posted 6/2/18. 7:40AM. Re your comment about costs related to harmful levels of alcohol consumption within NT communities:
“You know, they fail to take into account that currently we pay $50m in the Territory in relation to alcohol sales in taxes. That money unfortunately goes straight to the Commonwealth so there is some arguments there how the Territory Government gets that money back” (Des Crowe, CEO. NT branch of the Australian Hotels Association. ABC 6/2/18, responding to the NT Police Association call for industry responsibility).
This appears to be a game of “pass the buck” with Liquor Inspectors and “new technology” attached to the BDR as a “way forward.”
Smoking in public places is banned and the health warnings that now appear on tobacco products have helped create a greater awareness of the issues related to the peer enforcement of smoking, but the tobacco industry didn’t go quietly.
Perhaps, the alcohol industry needs to admit responsibility and leadership by comparing the costs to public health for its products, but that would affect the corporate bottom line.
The $50m in taxes is miniscule in comparison to the billions spent on alcohol-related health issues that taxpayers subsidise on an annual basis.
That money could well be spent elsewhere.
It’s not an economic issue, but one of leadership in community values and political will.


Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops
@ Laurence, posted February 3, 2018. 6:17pm: Re your comment about a “radical rethink”.
Leaving aside the suite of measures so far employed to address the harmful levels of alcohol consumption in the NT and notwithstanding the absence of a floor price, there is something in what you say.
Stewardship is an old fashioned word for community values.
In the 1920s, Rev. John Flynn, who knew something about the health of people in the bush, wrote that we would have to render an account one day.


Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops
There is a groundswell of awareness about the use of methamphetamine (Ice) at a community level throughout Australia.
Most people seem to have direct or anecdotal experience of families being tragically affected, but if it was better understood that ‘for every person who uses methamphetamine in a year there are 85 drinking alcohol;for every person addicted to methamphetamine there are 20 addicted to alcohol;for every ambulance call-out for methamphetamine problems there are 25 for alcohol;for every methamphetamine presentation to an Emergency Department there are 30 for alcohol;for every amphetamine-related death there are 65 alcohol deaths’ (source: Emeritus Professor Ian Webster, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education newsletter 2/2/18), the alcohol problem confronting communities in the NT might be considered more seriously.


THE TROLL by Blair McFarland
Thanks for this, Blair. As Monty Python would have it, say no more.


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