Steve Brown@August 26. First out of the box crowing …

Comment on Convincing win for Country Liberals: ALP likely to lose its only seat in The Centre by Russell Guy.

Steve Brown@August 26. First out of the box crowing about a “new hope another chance” is the man who persists in referring to those whose social policies he dislikes as the “loopy left.”
Those of us who have laboured for decades to build organisations in Alice and in many other places throughout the Territory, which Mr Brown now takes for granted, are the recipients of this sinister epithet. If I thought that Mr Brown originated it, I would be more concerned, but he is a relative innocent.
Mr Brown “can’t wait to get on with” whatever it is he has in mind in terms of social policy for the sadly neglected town of Alice Springs, but in terms of alcohol policy which I have fought to reform, this quote from the recently published history of the Elliott district, by respected historians Peter and Sheila Forrest, is worthy of respect.
“Since the walk offs from the stations, no black or white leader has been able to suggest where the next step in the walk should be headed. It is a terrible, tragic and too hard conundrum” (2011: 146).
We have been promised a removal of the Berrimah line by the Chief Minister who posed for the Sunday Territorian with a beer in his hand. It remains to be seen if the CL will pursue the alcohol policy it wheeled out so late in the campaign and for which taxpayer costings have not been fully realised nor presented.
It’s my hope that Mr Mills will confer with Bess Price and Alison Anderson before building his mandatory rehab facilities and criminalising drunkenness, perhaps even following similar excessive drinking cultures whose governments are considering a floor price. A new hope and a new chance.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Convincing win for Country Liberals: ALP likely to lose its only seat in The Centre
Steve Brown, just off the top of my weary head, there were 2500 problem drinkers on the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR), installed at a cost of approx $1m for six months and about to be dismantled by the CL govt.
Of that 2500, white and black, I personally know that some voluntarily placed themselves on it as a measure of controlling their own alcoholism.
It empowered them and gave them another reason to get off the stuff. The BDR sent a positive message to some that their daily request and in some cases, humbug, for a six pack (out bush) was a result of their alcoholic condition. This also sent a positive message.
The fact that take-away is available seven days per week does not. As the West Australians have said, a multiple approach to this monster is needed. The BDR was supported by NT police.


Convincing win for Country Liberals: ALP likely to lose its only seat in The Centre
Janet@August 28. I always enjoy spending time in the “wilderness,” even though I know you’re referring to a place that exists in the mind of someone who prefers to ignore the reality of the facts relating to public health and alcohol.
This is particularly curious when you can Google an increasing assemblage condemning the liberalisation of alcohol which is what your post seems to support.
In fairness to police, ambo’s, doctors, other utilities, etc, and those families unfortunately victimised, we may ask why Australian governments have not acted on the evidence, while three-quarters of all Australians believe that Australia has a problem with alcohol (source supplied below). That statistic would place you in the “wilderness.”
The evidence – that liquor outlets spawn violence, that responsible service of alcohol exists in name only and that one in three motor vehicle accidents involves excess alcohol – has been there for years.
Public health advocates are not anti-alcohol, just anti-alcohol industry profits at a $36m p.a. expense to the Australian taxpaying community, not to mention the human cost.
The source for evidence presented here can be found at http://drinktank.org.au and if you check it out you might like to sign the petition. It requires a couple of hundred more signatures before presentation to parliament, asking that our government mandate pregnancy health warnings on alcohol products because the industry has failed to do so.


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Alcohol floor price may breach Australian Constitution
The fact that no action is being taken by the Winemakers Federation, preferring instead to work with the NT Government; that there have been no casks larger than two litres in the NT for several years and in Alice Springs for several more, because they are banned, we should be encouraged by their example, along with other retailers who have shown similar intent.
Tourist tipple and alcohol problems in the NT are interrelated. In a recent post, I pointed out the illogic of sacrificing current levels of visible alcohol-related harm to the tourist economy, which will only cause further decline.
The Mandatory Treatment Act (2013), since repealed, highlighted how harmful and disempowering alcohol restrictions can be, particularly where Indigenous communities have not been involved in their development.
While Steve Brown appears to consider it a “do gooder” issue and appeals for ice containment, he ignores the need for alcohol supply restriction in the general community, a product, it could be argued, of laissez faire capitalism over 50 years, culminating in corner stores trading in takeaway alcohol seven days a week.
Mr Brown compounds his approach by wishing that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was not a problem, allegedly within Indigenous communities.
It would be better if he, and others of a similar opinion, evinced the same desire for alcohol management through community coalitions backed by government regulation or government‐initiated community partnerships, which according to a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Public Health Journal, “have been successful in harnessing local knowledge and Indigenous social systems to curb the unintended impacts of alcohol regulation”.
The article revealed that improved health and social outcomes, for example, by tethering demand reduction programs to supply restrictions had been achieved.
Outrage over the disempowerment of Grey Nomads to purchase a cask of cheap wine, while the harmful use of alcohol among Territorians continues at levels in excess of the national average, ignores the possibility of a community-led solution, even when governments repeal poorly consulted legislation such as the MTA.
In the mid-1980s, Territorians died from being stabbed by glass flagons. Casks were introduced by governments working with the winemakers and less harm eventuated.
It didn’t curtail harmful levels of consumption, nor the granting of takeaway licenses, but the NT Government, acting on recommendations from Justice Riley’s Report, is facing up to the cost of those unacceptable levels and investigating ways of working with the underlying cultural problems.
Learning from history on which evidence-based legislation like soft packaging and a demand reduction floor price is based seems more appropriate than sticking one’s head in the sand.


Ice Age in Alice
Four balls coming back over the net. Policy on the run.
@ Local 1: Comparing Queensland with the NT is apples and oranges. Been crossing the border all my life, not just for a week.
@ Steve Brown: I want to see evidence for your claims, not just anecdotal. Been there.
@ John Bell: Commonsense has been missing in action and @ Paul Parker, same thing.
Tolerance, common sense and reason were the founding values of the European Enlightenment. Not going well.
Finally, to all, I speak for myself, not for PAAC, whose evidence-based campaign assisted the NT Government in micro-managing the issue of liberal alcohol supply with a floor price. The claim that it makes all alcohol more expensive is incorrect.


Ice Age in Alice
The floor price is not a “silver bullet.”
There is none. There are only a suite of measures to reduce levels of supply, including the BDR.
A floor price targets the cheapest alcohol sold, mostly cask wine, consumed by the most desperate addicts, including pregnant women.
Canada and Scotland have a floor price.
It was introduced this week in the NT after a long evidence-based campaign.
Cynicism is an easy choice, but I’ve been involved in reducing alcohol-related harm in the NT since 1986 when I produced four songs with Indigenous band, Coloured Stone for the NT Road Safety Board.
If you allow yourself to get cynical and negative about drugs, of which alcohol is one of the most prevalent, then you might as well accept the carnage as inevitable.
Take the opposition over the recent Master’s Games request by the police for light and midstrength beer.
One of your readers posted anonymously, calling those who lobby to turn the tap down a “mob” who are only interested in prohibition. That’s hysteria.
The NT Government is currently looking into the seven days a week take away grog licensing regime.
Australia has a culture of alcoholism, particularly around sport.
Changing that culture, currently costing NT taxpayers $640m p.a. is a positive step towards putting money into ice rehab.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
@ “Ray”. My argument for turning the tap down (not off, as you insinuate with your anonymous post), exposes your confusion, but it clarifies one point.
It will be hypocritical for you to point to the Indigenous as being responsible for the town’s social problems again.
While you busy yourself over being “the laughing stock of the country”, the hospital and police records continue to speak for themselves and show no sign of abating, due to what is a culture of alcoholism.
It was the police who requested light and midstrength beer be served at this sporting event.
As an attendee at last Friday’s National Police Remembrance Day, the names of those officers who were killed in the line of duty was sobering, yet they who we appoint to serve and protect are fobbed off.
Justifying the capitulation on the economy and giving back to the “community” is evidence of your confusion, but as cultural tourism is the vogue, it will be interesting to see how long before you start referring to “the section of the community that has the issue” again.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
Why such despondency, “Ray”?
The streets of Alice Springs are paved with gold if you have eyes to see.
They need not be awash with the consequences of alcoholism.
Turn the tap down (not off) and you will see how a great town can come back from fifty years of an uncapped flow.


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