Ray @ June 27. 1:11AM. Hi Ray, your …

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

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.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Send in the taskforce: councillor
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.


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

Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers
I’ve not come across the term “creative arts therapist” before, but as a writer, it suggests that artists and in this case, the sculptor need therapy in order to heal, not just ourselves, but the culture within which we live.
I’ve heard of cultural amnesia, but not cultural healing, although, perhaps, this is what the Reconciliation movement has been attempting and, I guess, those in the aftermath of war, once the dust clears and what’s left is assayed.
This seems to be a definition of what is meant here.
Ironically, an “appreciation of arid landscape” noted by the analysts, came about because of the Stuart Highway and without the statue which has the “town upset”, this exhibition may not have happened.
In this paradox, difference is celebrated, but given that all difference is equal, some people don’t appear to mind. Perhaps, they have cultural amnesia or some other malaise.


Hermannsburg historic precinct gets cash injection
With thanks to the pioneering Lutheran Missionaries whose venture of faith during the 1880s was a hard slog and is well-recorded.
Their Christian concern for the Arrernte underpins our tourist industry at a time when such religious freedom as allowed their Mission Station to implement employment and educational training programs are not considered significant by a large portion of our population, including the majority of politicians.


Emirates jetliner dumps fuel on Central Australia
I believe the Galaxy is short field take off / landing as opposed to the Airbus / Boeing Emirates type which may make the comparison inequitable.
Just saying and stand correcting, but the Alice is well known as an emergency field for long-haul flights, so weight is an issue. Since the port of departure is some hours north, fuel load could still have been critical.


Outback Way to get more bitumen
There goes the neighbourhood.


NT-SA agreement hardly historic
Paul Keating, in his 1992 Redfern Speech, framed by speechwriter Don Watson, author of the somewhat dryly punitive opus, The Bush, also claimed a historic mandate, announcing success for Reconciliation “within the next decade.”
It’s in the nature of politics to claim credit for doing something, mostly spending tax revenue and living in hope that it won’t run out.
In my opinion, the “historic” issue is just a beat up or a sop.
Pass me another piece of Bicenttennial birthday cake, please.


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