The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) submission to the Coroner …

Comment on Send in the taskforce: councillor by Russell Guy.

The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) submission to the Coroner in the tragic Briscoe Inquest was reported in The Australian on Monday (25/6/12).
The recommendations are consistent with what many of us have been saying in the AS News and the Advocate regarding the immediate need for alcohol supply reduction. Not prison farms for rehab, not more law and order, but a floor price, a take-away sales free day/s and a reduction in opening hours from 10am to noon.
There are many well-intentioned people in Alice who are not even aware that two pubs sell take-away seven days a week. This is a fatal flaw in any plan for this town’s future.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Send in the taskforce: councillor
Ray @ June 27. 1:11AM. Hi Ray, your post reminded me of the old argument about a means to an end. Sometimes, we use the means (alcohol regulation) to achieve an end that we can’t live with. It’s time for change.
The end of forty years of liberal laws, where we currently have take-away alcohol being sold seven days a week, has produced a very expensive social problem, but this is where I really want to engage with your argument about all of us being equal under the law.
The cultural difference that underpins much of life in Alice between Aboriginal people and those of a more European background, is seen not exclusively through the prism of law, but in inequalities in affordable housing, educational opportunities, welfare, prison and health statistics.
There are terminologies for why this is so in the social sciences. Accelerated cultural change is one of my favourite, whereby change from a way of life has come upon Aboriginal people (whose first language in the majority of cases, is not English), at a rapid rate, causing confusion, psychological stress and shorter life spans, etc, than the majority of Australians.
You are right in saying that more things need to change than alcohol supply, but the focus on alcohol-abuse, welfare reform and job creation is an obvious place to begin.
Cultural difference is hard to explain, even though it’s all around us in central Australia. It’s something you have to appreciate. George Bernard Shaw once said “to be in Hell is to drift: to be in Heaven is to steer.” Guess who’s steering social change in Australia and on the streets of Alice?
You want Aboriginal people to fit into this scheme, but their cultures are different and they don’t have the skills mentioned above to negotiate, because of the historical situation that still pertains.
I maintain that we’re trying to put a circle into a box. The circle is found in Aboriginal art and the box is found in the geometry of Western science. I make a fire (in a circle of rocks) each morning out bush and people stand around it. The TV is a rectangle. There has to be a better accommodation of cultural difference.
In conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the Northern Territory Police Association’s (NTPA) submission to the Coroner’s inquest into the death of a young Aboriginal man in the Alice watch house in January.
The NTPA, on behalf of our police, make some welcome statements regarding the “soul-destroying” work of taking Aboriginal alcoholics into custody. You will find the links to that in the AS News.


Send in the taskforce: councillor
Rex @ June 21. 11:59pm. Thanks for continuing to engage with this situation. Cr Brown, Ray, Jason Newman and yourself, et al deserve a medal or at least a cup of billy tea around the fire, BUT, you have side-stepped the one positive point that I made in reply to Ray.
All very well to apportion blame and who hasn’t made mistakes, but turning down the supply of alcohol is one way that we can improve the dysfunction in Alice. In fact, I’d go further. It’s critical to the three points of breaking this la la land cycle – alcohol reform, welfare reform and job creation.
By continuing to salute the mighty grog god as if it’s sacrosanct, it will grow more powerful – emphasis on ‘more’ marketing, more sly grogging, more policing as it has since 1984’s 2 km law.
Let’s start somewhere around the fire and maybe we can organise a trip to your Reptile Park for some of those kids who need fathers and mothers to show that they care about them and their future in this town.
I know you’ve had terrible experiences, but most of us have had our feathers ruffled and clipped over the years. Let’s have a go while we still can. Are you interested?


Send in the taskforce: councillor
Ray @ June 20. 8: 56pm. Thanks for your thoughtful post. Please allow me to respond by saying that I think you are making a racist statement in identifying Aboriginal people as being solely responsible for the social dysfunction in the Alice community. I know “it stands out” and I appreciate your frustration.
I remember the introduction of the 2km law in 1984 and had to work with it. I asked the police for help at the time, but they responded with, “we don’t make the laws.” Quite so.
I think I have a little knowledge of alcohol restrictions in Alice, so I’m not just shooting from the hip and I agree with you that the current regime could be improved, but the NTG’s Enough is Enough measures have statistically improved the situation since their introduction in 2007. It would have been far worse without them.
Along with many others, I advocate a take-away sales free day/s and a floor price (a reduction in public bar trading hours would be a good thing, say from 10AM opening, back to noon), but we’re such “good drinkers in the NT”, it’s a hard one to live down and keep one down, much less close down for the good of the community, but so was the abolition of the British slave trade.
Regarding your advice to “broaden my scope”, if you Google my name in the Alice Springs News archives, you will find my recommendations for the overhaul of Centrelink.
It seems to me, with a post-graduate degree in Sociology, among other things, if you’ll pardon my modesty, that in a laissez faire democracy such as we have in Australia, whereby many people go along with whatever happens and/or complain from the sidelines until the next election comes along, we have structural problems that are not easily overcome, especially, in a Rights-based environment where certain activists agitate for their rights above those of the community good, simultaneously reducing certain freedoms that were once taken for granted. We see it in the alcohol debate too.
The legislative framework for governance is often limited, slow in adjusting to social pathology, unwieldy, inefficient, duplicated, etc. and such is the pace of modern life, that few of us have the time to listen, while the colossus of government rolls on and over.
However, one has to start somewhere in Alice and reducing the supply of alcohol remains an obvious target in improving our community’s dysfunction. Since 1984, we have allowed numerous take-away alcohol outlets to supply seven days a week, to the point where the expense far outweighs any benefit to the community.
We have arrived at a social crossroads in a transitioning economy where only the mining industry is referred to as a saviour. This morning, it was announced that housing construction is down 12.5p.c. in the first quarter.
I’ve gone cold turkey on grog after 43 years. It’s not necessary for life. In fact, the benefits are amazing in so many ways. I expect to get shot at for saying this, but how about you?


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
@ Eugene’s Mate. Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:42 pm.
Thanks, “Eugene’s Mate”, for standing on Sue and my shoulders and posting your information, which I’d like to believe is informed and reliable, but I haven’t failed to realise anything about the Gunner Government’s intentions.
In fact, I have made a point of supporting their alcohol reform.
I’m glad that “most other NT Cabinet members share this analysis”. I’m not cynical in doubting that they are taking the initiative.
I’m also glad that you share my analysis of frustrated motivation. I worked for decades with youth, both when I was one and more recently. It’s not rocket science, but please permit me to set you straight over your claim of “ignorant and patronising” suggestion.
You teeter on the edge of reason with the rest of your post in terms of the art gallery / culture centre and the government’s consultation process.
I’m also not sure what you mean about Mr Shiell’s failure to see that the gallery should be at “the heart of the town”. As far as I understand, a section of the Aboriginal community have suggested it be south of the Gap, which aligns with his suggestion.
Thanks for the directional inspiration.


Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
@ Sue Fielding. Posted 14/7/18. 8:46AM: In my opinion you have correctly identified generational trauma, racism, alcohol abuse and domestic violence as some of the reasons for anti-social behavior among the young people responsible.
Anger and frustration are two of the motivational issues, apart from mindless vandalism which is existential for many kids. I did it occasionally at that age, without really knowing why.
With regard to “the support and social cohesion necessary for them to make a way forward (in 2 world’s), into education, jobs, a stable life”, you are essentially discussing giving them direction.
Motivating the kids to take an interest in their surroundings (town) begins in family life and then in the school environment, but when this is dysfunctional, then special treatment is warranted as is the case with case management, but more than one-on-one is required, because that only attends to the electrons whizzing around the nucleus.
Perhaps, the kids sense that the town lacks direction.
Who could blame them for reacting the way they are out of frustration?
If you look at the local economy as tourist-based, at least for six months of the year, then getting kids focussed on how they might contribute to that opportunity through education, innovation and the kind of ideas which Trevor Shiels often posts at this site, e.g., Yirara students training for the proposed art gallery and/or a culture centre, then perhaps that could be a direction.
The problem, as I see it, is that Mr Shiels’ posts often seem to go unremarked.
You call for local MPs and Alice to focus, along with the support providers. All of this appears to lack direction.
Alice Springs is a town that has the makings of a recovery, but without the ability to help itself out of the problem.
Could this be a form of self-inflicted vandalism brought about by ennui, i.e, stunned like the rabbit in the headlights?
Maybe, it’s a Pavlovian impotence, where the dog keeps getting an electric shock, but doesn’t want to or can’t get out of the box?
Perhaps, Alice as a town is the Pavlovian dog.
It will keep on receiving these toxic social shocks as long as it lacks direction, or the will to get out of the box.


At last, public will get a say on Anzac Oval: Town Council
@ Maya. Posted 26th June. 7:16pm.
The Property Council of Australia recently commissioned a report which examines the future of Australian cities. It has been reviewed as applying equally to Sydney as to a country shire in the outback.
It’s basic premise seems to be the creation of “mini-CBD’s” over the usual model of one CBD, but the interesting thing about the second volume of the three volume report is how it charts employment growth in GDP per capita.
The take-home bit for me is that limiting the planning (?) of Alice Springs to a single CBD concept over the creation of mini-CBD’s, limits employment opportunity, e.g., transport between them is an obvious one.
Alice Springs is set up for such a vision, with some of the points you make, but with many more outlying.
It may allow for diversification and reduce the focus of social unrest on the present CBD, which seems resistant to change or reform.
The challenge might be to link them into a coherent town plan that has a future outside of the narrow confines of the present.


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.


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