“Controlled” canteens on communities have a history of doing anything …

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

“Controlled” canteens on communities have a history of doing anything but give women and kids a good night’s sleep. This week, the New Zealand government has agreed to introduce a Bill to restrict access to alcohol, but here in Alice, with a recognised crisis, curbing the underlying supply that has festered for forty years is resisted.
Research released this week by FARE reveals that “every week, on average, sixty Australians die and a further 1500 are hospitalised as a result of alcohol. A significant number of Australians continue to drink to excess, with over four million Australians reporting drinking alcohol to get drunk, and over two million doing so at least once a month”.
Those are significant numbers in any language. My analysis of alcohol induced social problems in Alice suggests that welfare reform, alcohol reform and job creation would ease this situation, while contributing to productivity, health, tourism and economic benefits to the community.
However, there is a glaring lack of an inertial guidance system. The Police Commissioner’s whole-of-community solution has a political use-by date and the ASTC’s so-called “Port Augusta” model is showing signs of blowing out and death by consultancy.
In a postmodern social policy era, this is a real challenge for those who are prepared to have a go. John Reid has suggested a public forum, but I wonder if that sort of thing works anymore. The level of bureaucratic and community dysfunction in Alice is extraordinary, but those who agree that alcohol is our biggest problem have my attention.

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
women.

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’
Janet,
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

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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