This story has been up for five hours and nobody …

Comment on Half shot or full drunk? by Russell Guy.

This story has been up for five hours and nobody has posted anything. I’m feeling suitably morose, which is a soulful kind of feeling, so I’m gonna dip my thumbnail in tar.
As you say, Erwin, these days it takes minutes for the press to scoop a story online and I’ve read this story twice over the last few hours. I thought I’d record my initial feeling at reading it, while I’m up for it. I found it nauseating, a polite way of saying that it churned my guts.
I’ve been advised by a good friend to “pick my battles” and I’ve been committed to fighting for alcohol reform in Alice, mostly in these pages, these last six months, but the more I read, the more I see, the more I hear, the less I believe in Australia’s future, much less that of Alice Springs.
I heard today that from Katherine north, some caravan parks are chockers at $60 per night for a powered site, $48 unpowered. Where I work, I charged a Swiss couple with two young boys $24 total for a powered site last night, but I digress from the alcohol-related story about life in Alice.
One of our major poets, Banjo Patterson, wrote in 1889 “And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street … and the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me as they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste, with their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy, for townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.”
I sometimes wonder what Banjo would think if he could sit and view Alice Springs these days with those who have the dubious time to carry 30 can VB packs around the streets and I’m not saying it’s entirely their choice either, when the take-away outlets open at 2pm weekdays, 10am Saturdays and noon on what used to be a Christian nation’s Sabbath.
Yesterday, I was talking with an elderly chap who once worked on Kurundi Station, now retired to Adelaide. When I said “I bet you notice some changes,” he looked quite ashen, dropped his head and made excuses to leave. I was far too upbeat, but his grand daughter caught my eye with complete understanding.
Little Sisters’ town camp has been peppered with Jurrah-type incidents for the past thirty years of my experience and from working in it during the 1980s, I knew many of its residents who have been killed by grog-related violence there, or by crossing the road.
Recently, I heard of an intoxicated woman holding up her hand to stop the Ghan in its tracks there. I find that poetic and pathetic and symbolic of the soul of Australia in the 21st century.

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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