I had a quick look at some of the areas …

Comment on Briscoe Inquest: reduce supply of excess alcohol from take away outlets, says Coroner by Ray.

I had a quick look at some of the areas I go on holidays or have lived, as I have never seen the problems Alice Springs has before moving here. In Bundaberg in Qld there are three BWS, two Liquorland, five Liquor King, and six independent liquor shops. There are also three taverns listed. In addition you have many, many restaurants and sporting clubs that sell take away alcohol to their members. This is all within a 30km radius, not to mention the outlying areas. Population about 80,000 plus outlying areas.
Wynnum in Qld is similar, if you include the neighboring suburb of Manly the population is about 25,000. For this many people there are 14 bottle shops alone. Add to this licenced clubs, sporting facilities, restaurants, taverns etc, and the amount of alcohol available is similar, if not more than Alice Springs. All figures are approximate, but if availability was really the issue, surely the problem would be replicated in these, and similar areas right across the country.
We have what is arguably the largest renal dialysis facility in the southern hemisphere, yet we do not hear of the rivers of sugar killing and destroying the lives of once again, a disproportionate number of Aboriginal people. It’s really easy to single out grog as the problems it creates is so visible in our community, but like sugary food and drink, it is the way in which it is consumed that causes the problems.
The Gillen Club and Eastside only supply to their members, so I do not think they are a major supplier to the habitual drunk, including Elders is also drawing a pretty long bow. Three legal outlets, The Gap, The Todd and Heavitree supply alcohol as their primary business, the same as all other bottleshops around the country.
Russell @10 talks about non-indigenous being highly represented in Darwin, 1500km away. I think you will find Russell that the representation of non-indigenous / non-aboriginal / white taken into protective custody here in Alice Springs is comparatively quite low.
Let’s not muddy the waters here, the argument is about a massive problem that a disproportionate number of Aboriginal people have with alcohol consumption. Can we please acknowledge that this is the major problem. By identifying this as the primary issue, we can direct the needed resources and formulate a plan to deal with it.
As long as we keep beating around the bush and generalising, this same sad situation will continue well into the next generation.

Ray Also Commented

Briscoe Inquest: reduce supply of excess alcohol from take away outlets, says Coroner
Hello again Russell. A few points. Contributions are permitted without surnames, I choose not to supply mine, which is my right, please do not denigrate me by saying I do not have courage.
I am offering my views in an effort to contribute to the discussion, and for reasons that matter to me, I do not wish to use my last name. It does not make my opinion any less valid. I do not agree that personal attacks or names such as loopy left, radical right help anybody.
I do not use the terms racist and paternalistic in the context that you suggest. Your comments to me suggest that any view that opposes yours must be wrong, and you lump many contributors together. Some rant and rave, but that is passion (sometimes unbridled).
I well know about the problems in Byron Bay, in Kings Cross, and even in Mitchell Street, however I was talking about our unique problems. With all the empty bottles you collected, it would have been interesting to see how many of those people were taken into protective custody, or even hospital. We need to deal with the biggest problem that is causing the most damage in our town.
Young white males getting blotto and coupling that with extreme violence is a major problem all over the country, however it is not our number one problem. Let’s target and find specific solutions to OUR problems, that is Aboriginal men such as Mr Briscoe needing to get so drunk that they need to be taken into protective custody. By the level of intoxication, he could have easily ended up as a death outside of custody.
How has this been happening for so long? I played golf this morning, mowed the yard and did some gardening, after that I bought a carton of beer and had a few while making dinner for my family. Many many people do this, as it is the responsible consumption of grog.
If we closed all bottle shops except one, those people would still get grog, and the owner of that one shop would be very very rich. This was evident during the BDR. The same drunks were still getting locked up because they could still get alcohol, either by having their kin buy it, smashing into shops, houses or other means.
My point Russell, is that for many years people have been very afraid [to say] it is a problem that primarily affects Aboriginal people.
This is evident in the facts and figures you quote. Until we are able to identify the problem, without being accused of being racist, we are fighting with our hands tied behind our backs.
I’m not interested in getting in an argument with you Russell, I enjoy reading all opinions and occasionally like to send mine. Cheers, Ray.


Recent Comments by Ray

Bailed juveniles next-door to you soon?
@ Trevor: You have nailed it, absolutely nailed it. Unfortunately is is far more common than people think or could even imagine.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
To those who voted against it, thank you. I for one believe that the Australian flag up there and Territory one next to it symbolises all Australians from the Territory that served.
Yes, Aboriginal servicemen had a hard time returning home from service, but so did our Vietnam diggers, of all races.
I suppose that change will come one day, but for the councillors that voted against it represented my point of view, so thank you, your efforts are appreciated.


Will we say sorry to the Abandoned Generation in 10 years?
It sounds like Sue Gordon is getting it and is not afraid to say it how it is.
So many people on this and other forums are saying that the lock me up attitude of the last 20 years is proof that a punitive approach is not working, and we need to change to a more caring model.
Well, here is your evidence of how this new system will work for us. Once the town has died completely and it turns into a service centre only, then people on the east or west coast will say, sadly, “told you so”.
While we keep getting told an entire generation was stolen because of the colour of their skin, and feeling sorry for anybody simply because they said they were stolen too, there will be no solution, but great profits for Harvey Norman and the local bottle shops.
People hopefully will begin to see the point of magistrate Gordon, that a child living in care is better than a child dead with “family”.


Bailed juveniles next-door to you soon?
@ Alex: Not sure what evidence you are referring to about alternatives in other countries working. I have tried to find comparatives to our situation, and could not, and our society is vastly different to these countries.
My other point is when you say that what we have done over the last 20 years has not worked.
How can that be proven? In another 20 years, we may look back at this new approach and compare it to what we have been doing, and find it has been more successful, but then again it may fail miserably.
Unless we get to a point where we have two choices to compare, it is hard to outright dismiss what has been done over the last 20 years or so.


What REALLY goes on in our streets: Youth worker
@ Evelyn: You mention evidence of the government being racist when the army was sent into communities and basics cards being introduced among other things.
The army is regularly used in times of emergencies to assist communities that need it, being disaster relief from cyclones, flooding etc. mainly because they are the best equipped to do so.
The Intervention was exactly that, the government needed to intervene because a state of emergency had been declared in these communities with sexually transmitted diseases in kids under 10 years old at epidemic proportions (that is not normal for any society).
There were cases of preventable eye and ear disease and houses in chronic states of disrepair.
The Federal government needed to act and their biggest asset that is Federally controlled is the army. Despite some of the images promoted by the protesters, they didn’t roll in in tanks with M16s slung over their shoulder.
They came in Land Cruisers with the specialist equipment that was needed and were probably the only workforce with the capacity to do the job.
They comprised medics, engineers and logistics specialists. We need to ignore the rhetoric of the critics who paint a picture of a racist government sending in soldiers to round up all the blacks.
Instead we need to read the Little Children are Sacred report again, and remind ourselves of the reasons we not just wanted to, but had to do something for those kids, five year old kids playing out sexualised behaviour on each other, and then seeing pornography freely available in these houses. Coincidence?
Chronic overcrowding, peadophiles being reported and arrested for the first time because the women and community members had faith that they would be listened to and having the oportunity to give evidence without fear of retribution.
I was friends with police who worked on these cases and they said that what the public heard was the tip of the iceberg.
Billions were poured into the SIHIP program for housing as a result of what was identified. Was it done as well as it could be? No. But we all know that now. Was it needed? Well yes it was, for the government not to intervene would have been criminal.
Naturally the Act needed to be changed to allow this response to occur, it would not have been legal otherwise, the ability to do this can be traced back to the 1967 referendum.
As far as applying to any other race? My home town of Bundaberg is about to be, if not already, the next town for the basics card to be rolled out, and it is already being trialled in other areas applying to all races. It is not solely for aboriginal people.
Once again, spend the time, download and really read the LCAS report, your opinion then may change.
Many people cry foul about the Intervention, unfortunately the voices of the ones who are grateful something was done, are drowned out by the ones with the funds and contacts and reasons to make it about themselves, not the ones who need the help.


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