By ERWIN CHLANDA
The stick needs to be added to the carrot to enforce parental responsibility, reduce youth crime and get able-bodied people off the dole, says Member for Braitling Adam Giles (pictured).
If that is not done, none of the other initiatives will work.
He was responding to more than 40 comments posted by Alice Springs News Online readers, voicing extreme frustration with yet another summer of crime, are concerned that people will take the law into their own hands, and are urging the end of unconditional welfare.
“I am a firm believer in mutual responsibility,” says Mr Giles, and if that can’t be achieved by education and campaigns, then sanctions such as withdrawing welfare payments should be brought in.
Before the Federal Labor Government came to power freezing welfare payments for six weeks was one of the sanctions in force, he says.
“There needs to be greater enforcement.”
Welfare payments made with inadequate conditions, as well as subsidised housing, health and education have locked people into welfare dependence.
Already existing rules such as withdrawing the dole when people refuse to accept jobs “are not implemented as strenuously as they should”.
Many people are not “contributors to society” which even in a “subsistence society has been required forever and a day”.
Says Mr Giles: “There are jobs in Alice Springs, whole range of them, low skilled and unskilled.
“But many employers have taken on people before, got burned in some cases.”
Such workers should not be allowed back on the dole.
“Society needs a safety net, it’s a good thing, but it can’t be a system discouraging people from going to work.”
He says people must not take the law into their hands but concedes there is a “hardened core group” of criminals not effectively dealt with by authorities.
The way bail is being used needs to be reformed so that repeat offenders are not put “back out into the streets. We need to protect society”.
Mr Giles says “boot camps, tough love camps and even detention” need to be used on a broader scale.
He says he does not agree with the proposition that Indigenous people do not need to work because generations ago their land had been colonised.
“I don’t accept that. It’s a pathetic scapegoat response,” he says.
“We have gone beyond that. We are one community. Before settlement people had jobs, different jobs, but they were carrying out their responsibilities to their communities.”
Mr Giles says more stringent alcohol regulations are not the answer to the problems of crime and youth neglect, because they would be dealing with the symptoms, not the cause, which is many people’s refusal to “participate in society.
“Nothing will change while their only focus, when they wake up in the morning, is to get pissed.”
If we reduce availability of alcohol people are simply going to switch to ganja or other drugs.
Should the baby bonus be denied to mothers who recklessly harm their unborn by abusing alcohol?
Mr Giles does not think so: “It’s difficult to prove cause and effect” of children’s disabilities.