Thanks for researching the topic and writing this very timely …

Comment on Is NT turning back the clock with its plans for compulsory rehab? by Bob Durnan.

Thanks for researching the topic and writing this very timely article Kieran.
I hope your references are noted, and the studies you have cited are considered carefully by politicians and their advisors, as their decisions on these matters will affect many lives, and possibly use up a great deal of the NT’s scarce disposable funds and even scarcer time. It is way past time to act, but the actions must be based on the best evidence and thinking available.
Spending very large amounts of money just to get irritating drunks out of sight in detention for a while is not good enough. Addicts are sick people. They deserve the option of respectful, effective help, but they cannot be compelled to accept therapeutic help against their wills, or the investment in resources will be wasted.
Nor should they be deprived of their liberty, by being locked up indefinitely or periodically for only refusing to accept an offer of help, just for the sake of getting them out of sight and out of mind, when they have not actually broken any laws.
To punish them with imprisonment without adequate reason or due process would be a gross and unjustifiable breach of their civil, legal and human rights.
Having an unwanted counsellor available during their three month stay in detention, and then releasing them back into the same environment without supports, will not solve the problems or help those who suffer from alcohol addictions, but it will burn up a great deal of scarce capital and goodwill.
It would be far better to have a system that simply withdraws the privilege of access to alcohol from self-destructive drinkers for a period, combined with reasonable pressure on them to consider offers of help whilst they are banned and sober enough to make clear decisions.
The system should also include provision of high quality help to those who make the decision to accept it, and an everyday living environment that reduces the opportunities to obtain alcohol and lessens the triggers on impulses to drink it.
A floor price based on alcohol content, combined with effective enforcement of a Banned Drinkers Register supported by powers to impose Income Management for periods, would “turn down the grog tap” available to self-destructive drinkers whilst providing respite for their families and also slowing the rate of producing new addicts.
Powers to assess the causes and nature of the drinkers’ addictions and behaviours, and recommend that they consider undergoing suitable treatment would complement the turning down of the grog tap measures, providing the choice of a way out of the addiction without resorting to the shame and pain of criminalisation and imprisonment. These moves would be less costly and much more effective than the mandatory treatment option.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Elferink and Gooda clash over underage marriage
Peter, Posted June 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm: some young girls may resist promised marriage more strongly these days, but I doubt whether some are in a position to do so.
It has been authoritatively reported by youth workers in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in the last few years that rape of young women is rife in these towns.


I’m not kungka, I’m arelhe
Does anybody know if the hours when the Arrernte words teaching program is held at the Apmere angkentye-kenhe are available somewhere on the net, or anywhere else?
I thought I had seen it advertised for every Wednesday night at 6pm, but this doesn’t appear to be the case?
I have gone there at this time, found it closed, and no notice or info on the door.
Anybody wanna clarify here?


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Alex, of course one part-time worker with CAALAS is not able to, in your words, “work closely with EVERY SINGLE young person going throughout Central Australian court system, their family, community, lawyer, school and other service-providers to provide the young person with the support they need to get back on track and stay out of trouble”.
That is exactly my point, and why it is wrong for you to lay the blame on that worker, as you did when you wrote “if your PART-TIME advocacy programme co-ordinator did her job after this child’s court appearance in March, then he wouldn’t have appeared in court again in May.”
As I said earlier: That advocacy programme co-ordinator performed her job with great diligence and dedication, and cannot be held to blame for any alleged failure of duty of care, as the case load of such cases far exceeds the ability of one worker to cover even a small proportion of them. She was doing her job very well, covering as many of the cases as she could, but she wasn’t a magician. So your cheap jibe at her reputation is wrongly placed, and you should withdraw it.


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Evelyne Roullet, Posted June 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm: Ralph was not talking about where or how the kid should be housed. He was referring to the bigger issue of the huge trauma in his life, caused by the alleged killing of his mother by his father. Kids who experience this level of trauma need intensive help and support, and we need to make sure that they get it, from wherever it may be best available.


Judge Borchers’ position should be assessed: CAALAS
Alex, on June 22, 2017 at 11:44 am you said, and I quote: “If your PART-TIME advocacy programme co-ordinator did her job after this child’s court appearance in March, then he wouldn’t have appeared in court again in May.”
So you cast an aspersion on her. It is entirely unwarranted.
Don’t wriggle out, apologise.


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