It looks to me like Cr Brown has dropped the …

Comment on The elusive ‘Port Augusta model’ by Russell Guy.

It looks to me like Cr Brown has dropped the ball on this. His voluminous post in response to the Tourism bureaucracy is another indicator that the man has plenty to say, but the old “can do” is mixed up in his political posturing.
It’s the same old story that so many of us know too well. Nothing ever changes with this kind of mentality, e.g., the grog debate. All talk, no action. Sit Down money for consultants and councillors. What happened to Cr Melky’s talk of a debate over alcohol policy?
What about jobs for the blackfellas in tourism? Cr Brown proposes Haasts Bluff, Mt Leibig, Papunya, but we need more than words. Start with welfare reform and the hunger motive might make whitefeller tourism attractive – just kidding.
You’ll have to reinvent the wheel to get Indigenous tourism turning after the past 40 years of A Town Like Alice.
Perhaps that’s what’s really needed, but I can’t see bureaucrats sitting down to billy tea with a mob of black cockatoos when the barista’s in town with the gas heater and telly. No electricity out there for the laptop / email, only solar panels.

Russell Guy Also Commented

The elusive ‘Port Augusta model’
I’d like to add an observation relating to my post below @ May 31. NT culture is not done any favours by media outlets such as last Sunday’s ‘Territorian.’

The regular page three feature of a woman suggestively playing with her bikini reaches a new low when we are told that she is an “exotic dancer” earning money for an “orphanage” in Thailand.

Promiscuity often ends in unwanted pregnancies and is a dubious way of sponsoring an orphanage, but the ‘Territorian’ obviously sees no contradiction.

It frequently carries advertising for certain brands of beer where alcohol is used to promote the sexual objectification of

It’s no surprise that the alcohol industry has failed at self-regulation, contributes campaign funding for both NT political parties and cultivates a lascivious, yobbo culture. It’s real Corporate Citizen Role Model stuff and deserving of the inaugural ‘Raw Prawn of the Year Award’.

Unfortunately, this infulence is spreading – slowly taking over roadhouses on the track between Alice and Darwin – with lewd souvenirs replacing the authentic Territory style artifact.

It’s as if we have no power to halt the decline of community standards and rescue our reputation in tourism and associated alcohol reform. One thing is certain, it won’t get any better. Fears for future generations of Territorians are well-placed.

The tragedy is that our politicians are often compromised themselves or held to ransom by a constitutency who are influenced by and support this junk culture.

The elusive ‘Port Augusta model’
I’m glad you’re hearng the message, but you don’t get it. You and Steve have maintained the same inflexible position for the past four months. What concerns me is that you, being CLP supporters, support a backwards looking alcohol policy, while at least the NTG is moving forward on the complexity of alcohol-abuse.

Despite your incomprehension of evidence-based stats, they are making inroads into the dysfunction, unlike the CLP who wish to turn back the clock and immerse us in a gulag-style, uncosted imbroglio.

You have completely missed the point of the postmodern explanation for how we got here. Fortunately, other postings have woken up to the fact that Cr Brown, and with respect, your good self are both out of your depth in your current position.

The elusive ‘Port Augusta model’
Steve ‘Crikey’ Brown @ 30 May. I’d like to thank Cr Brown for the opportunity to explain what is meant by a postmodern era in relation to social policy, with particular reference to alcohol regulation.

Postmodernism entered the social science literature in the late-1960s as an attempt to differentiate between the modern period which began about three hundred years ago in science and the arts, leading to the present, where we are seeing the break-down of societies, not just in fiscal management, but in morality and drug abuse.

In terms of alcohol, whereby the NT Chief Magistrate contradicts Cr Brown by naming it as the biggest problem the community is facing, the UK, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand governments have all, in recent months, drafted Bills in an attempt to curb alcohol-abuse.

In Australia, the situation is well referenced by anyone who has kept tabs on the debate during the past four months in the AS News, something which Cr Brown has of late referred to as having risen to “ridiculous” levels.

In Alice Springs, the “symptom” he refers to as the result of “a much bigger, deeper problem” is arguably the other way around.

The supply of pure alcohol in a standard drink, multiplied by the quantity consumed in any given 24 hour period, by the amount of money available has produced pathological statistics, the latest of which I have referred to in my post below, quoting FARE’s research on Australian, alcohol-related morbidity.

The social and bureaucratic dysfunction in Alice Springs, relates specifically to the mechanisms of alcohol supply, welfare benefits and employment creation for the majority of the so-called ‘problem drinkers’ who just happen to be blackfellas. Is that a co-incidence, I wonder?

Interestingly, the FARE research at a national level, indicates that a majority of whitefellers have a problem with alcohol and that is also the case in Alice Springs.

By analysing social policy pertaining to alcohol regulation against the abuse-related statistics during the past forty years in Alice Springs, we can easily arrive at an analysis of why such modern policy has caused alcohol-induced social dysfunction. This has been presented, locally, NT-wide and nationally and is still incoming as a major cause of concern and expense in a contracting economy.

By applying a postmodern approach (which is really common sense, however uncommon among community leaders) to policy making, it is possible to change the course of history, because, as I’m sure even Cr Brown is aware, if we don’t learn from history, we are condemned to suffer the consequences.

NT Government and NT Opposition alcohol policies differ widely. It would be encouraging to be able to think that the NT electorate would consider policy, rather than politics for the future good of the whole community.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Feel free to try this at home
The last Sunday in March is apparently ‘Neighbourhood Day’ around Australia. This morning, I was given a free cup of tea at a market stall, announcing the event.
A gent next to me said, “G’day, neighbour.”
I was momentarily affronted that he would break into my morning to tell me this after having had my home broken into during the weak.
I told him so and said that I would get over it, but it’s not the first time I’ve been robbed and I’m bruised.
The flyer that came with the free cuppa said: “The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us. Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can and do change communities, connections help prevent loneliness, isolation and depression. Reach out to families with children and teenagers in your community to help them connect and belong.”
I haven’t exactly been shy about doing this for most of my adult life, but I’m tired, burnt-out, lonely and depressed enough to be affronted by a simple act of goodwill from an anonymous man, posing as a neighbour at a market stall on Saturday morning.
Does anyone else feel like this?

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.

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