“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

Indigenous gallery location done and dusted, says Lambley
@ Trevor Shiell. Posted 22nd June. 4:24pm.
The Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founder’s Museum in Longreach are kilometres from the CBD, but the Town Council has had to build an additional caravan park on the river because, in peak season, the others are full.
The new dinosaur park in Winton is out of town.
Probably because they build the town in the wrong place back then.
If only they’d known.
Some people have been calling for a Town Plan in Alice for years, but have given the game away and it’s easy to see why.
Even you have expressed this Yirara idea several times.
Ever get the feeling you’re a cracked record?
Actually, ‘blessed are the cracked for they shall let in a little light.’


Pine Gap’s new role as a war fighting command centre
Redundancy in the use of GPS technology, especially in relation to aviation and weather forecasting, is vital, but who knows how many satellites there are, which ones are kaput and which are fully functional for commercial or military purposes?
So many of us take satellite-based technology for granted in our daily lives, more especially as cyber warfare, recently exposed as influencing Australian elections, becomes a hot-button issue for the democratic world.
In those terms, Pine Gap is a significant asset, although, I note that Professor Blaxland is an academic from the ANU which recently rejected a fully-funded scholarship program for studies in Western Civilisation, while hosting similar programs from Asian and Islamic sources.


Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Evelynne Roullet. Posted June 16th at 4: 37PM.
You acknowledge the connection between why so many kids are on the street and turning the tap down, but I wasn’t just referring to the meeting that you attended.
The philosophy behind the proposed THIS WAY youth centre, outlined in several posts, has made no mention of reducing the alcohol supply to the parents and families of these kids, despite my comment at the time that there is a connection.
As Rainer Chlanda has mentioned in his latest contribution to this debate, there were conflicting views at the meeting.
I don’t know if alcohol was mentioned, because I was unable to attend, but it seems to me that the philosophy so far espoused requires more input and that is why I have written about the harmful levels of consumption still practised and the liberal supply of alcohol still available in Alice Springs.
Surely, enabling the kids to return to a safe home, if they have one, in which alcohol dependency is mediated by turning the tap down, should be part of the equation.
You imply that it would have been off-subject and boycotted.
The continuing head in the sand denial of liberal supply is counter-productive to solving youth issues in a family-related way.
There needs to be a continuing debate about the flow of alcohol in town.
If you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.
The NT has the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita than any other state in Australia.
The Gunner Government has begun the reform.
My point is that it needs to go further and that community action, such as the meeting set up by the organisers of THIS WAY, should publically declare direction for government reform.
No Sunday take-away would be a useful place to turn the tap down for the many reasons enumerated over many years, not least the huge saving to government and a more co-ordinated approach recommended by Rainer Chlanda.


Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Ted Egan. Posted June 15 at 11:19am:
I think you know the answer to that one, Ted.
Since 1986 when Justice Muirhead proposed that glass flagons be withdrawn, due to their being a lethal weapon in alcohol-related fights, the packaging has changed and we have plastic bottles.
In the apocalyptic world of a shrill society that is being destroyed by the commercialisation of alcohol, there are proposed variations to takeaway supply for Tennant Creek and the Barkly: 4-7 for Tennant Creeks and the wider Barkly 12-7 Monday to Saturday. No Sunday trading.
The Licensing Commission proposes that the sale of the following products will be limited to no more than one of the following per person per day:
• 18 cans or stubbies of light beer (not more than 2.7% alcohol by volume); or
• 12 cans or stubbies of mid-strength beer (not more than 3.5% alcohol by volume); or
• 6 cans or stubbies of cider or full strength beer; or
• 6 cans or bottles of Ready to Drink mixes; or
• One bottle of fortified wine; or
• One bottle of green ginger wine; or
• Two x 750 ml bottles of wine; or
• One 750 ml bottle of spirits, unless one such bottle has been purchased in the past 24 hours.
Any person of age who is not on the Banned Drinkers Register can purchase that amount of grog six days a week.
A similar situation exists in Alice Springs seven days a week, with a floor price of $1.50 per standard drink.
The Gunner Government was looking at buying back takeaway alcohol licences from the critical mass of outlets in the Alice Springs CBD, but I’ve not heard any success of late.
At least it reveals an admission that the policy of the past fifty years of liberal supply has been disastrous.
I knew two young Aboriginal men, among others, Colin Proud and Ivan Dixon when I worked at CAAMA in the early 80s whose lives were destroyed by alcohol.
There have been thousands since.
Colin was a teetotaller, but the destruction of his world was too much to bear. Ivan passed away, also in his 30s, from cirrhosis of the liver. They would have been in their 60s now and good friends, I’m sure.
The sale of grog by Aboriginal-owned outlets and secondary supply by Aboriginal people is a fact of life.
The latter is vice, the former is unfortunate. The net result is the same.
It would still destroy people like Colin who lost hope in the apocalyptic world of a shrill society.
We haven’t come a long way from the Yuendemu flagon wagon. The government drives it around the track while people look on like a sport in the colosseum.
They probably think it’s politically naive to do much more or maybe, given the consultation over the Art Gallery, it’s what the people want.
The proposal for a 24/7 Youth Centre has no mention of turning the tap down.
The Gunner Government rejected limiting seven days a week takeaway in the NT as recommended by Justice Riley, but maybe we should be encouraged that they have proposed no Sunday in the Barkly and reinstated the BDR. It seems to have bipartisan support.
Perhaps, Colin may have been encouraged and gone on the BDR.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
I endorse Domenico and Hal’s comments below, although a lot of epitaphs on sandstone are being erased by time and wind.
Some are evidence of a more Christian society one hundred years ago, others are philosophical.
It’s interesting and reflective to wander through the older section of our cemeteries; to maintain, rather than deny present and future generations of historians.


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