Lore (Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm: Good to …

Comment on OUR REST & REFLECTION SERIES: Alice has magic but house prices and crime need a firm hand by Bob Durnan.

Lore (Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm: Good to hear you speaking up with passion, raising many valid issues.
I can’t blame you for thinking you are alone in your concerns that “No one is talking about [social inequality] and no one wants to face up to it.” However, a check of the back issues of this journal and the Advocate will show that Jimmy Cocking has raised the issue repeatedly, as has Russell Guy.

Aboriginal leaders have been focussing on the need for greater equality for many years. A check of interviews with spokespeople from CAALAS, CLC, CAAC and Tangentyere will confirm this.

In early 2011 Central Australian Aboriginal Congress launched a pivotal strategy “Rebuilding Family Life in Alice Springs and Central Australia: the social and community dimensions of change for our people” (see http://www.caac.org.au/press_policy.html#positionpapers).
This document, which CAAC representatives have promoted continuously during the last two years, nominates income inequality, low social status and poor self-esteem as the fundamental issues underlying most other problems for many Aboriginal people.

“Rebuilding Family Life” proposes programs and advocacy to address these problems, primarily hinging these programs on increased empowerment and greater control over their own lives and circumstances. The key areas which it pinpoints as requiring urgent action are early childhood services, education, employment, health, accommodation, improved youth services, and programs to reduce alcohol problems and improve adult literacy.

Twelve months ago I also pinpointed inequality as one of two key issues in my analysis of the NT’s problems here http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2012/01/05/2022-ad-what-we-could-hope-for-in-indigenous-affairs-apart-from-the-odd-miracle/ .

Liz Martin and John Reid (and probably others) raised the issue in the context of the Alice town council election campaign.

Warren Snowdon often speaks about the problems associated with inequality in his public statements and speeches. The local ALP branch advocates for more attention to equality by governments, and did so at the recent conference of the NT ALP.

So although the issue may sometimes appear to be not receiving the attention it deserves, you are not alone; there is in central Australia a strong advocacy movement struggling to achieve greater equality.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

OUR REST & REFLECTION SERIES: Alice has magic but house prices and crime need a firm hand
Further re Lore Solaris (Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm): I agreed with Hal that your criticism of the police is too broad brush, and unfair in that it is the unhappy lot of the police to have responsibility to be compelled to deal with many people who are angry, unco-operative and often aggressive. This is extremely difficult and testing work. Despite this, many police do manage to communicate with all members of the general public in surprisingly respectful ways. Many police participate in sport, mix with all sections of society through school and church activities, and socialise in clubs.
The presence of police (and even more so, their potential presence) often empowers many people to have confidence and deal with problems which they would otherwise be completely powerless to handle.
The NT Emergency Response legislation (and now the Stronger Futures program funding) are providing more than 60 extra police, and 18 police stations, in places which formerly had no police presence and where vulnerable people were often previously scared to challenge drunken bullies, drug dealers, grog runners, domestic violence perpetrators and other lawbreakers.
Most police are well behaved and courteous to people. If they aren’t, people should be lodging complaints about particular incidents and behaviour that they find unacceptable. Senior police take such complaints seriously. There are several publicly funded legal services which are prepared to assist people to lodge valid complaints, so long as they are not frivolous or vexatious.

OUR REST & REFLECTION SERIES: Alice has magic but house prices and crime need a firm hand
In reply to Robinoz (Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm): re your observation that “it would be good to see some evidence that what we are doing is working”.
As it happens, I can assist you there.

The most recent over-view report on the impacts of alcohol reforms and regulations in Alice and Tennant (the NDRI’s Longitudinal Study of Restrictions in Alice Springs from 2000 – 2010) is also the most comprehensive look at the topic to date.
It contains analysis indicating there was some good news during that period, particularly in relation to reduced rates of per capita alcohol consumption, and a halt to the upwards trend for serious alcohol-related injuries and deaths (especially for Aboriginal women).
This report, which was compiled by a number of eminent researchers from various institutions and agencies, was published by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) a couple of months ago, and may be found at www.fahcsia.gov.au/node/17093 on the web.
The NDRI report examines in detail the impacts made during three separate periods in Alice of restrictions to alcohol availability using different combinations of regulatory mechanisms.
It concludes that the most recent arrangements (those applying since Clare Martin and the Licensing Commission introduced a well-calibrated package of regulation reforms in October 2006, which was later refined by Paul Henderson, especially via his “Enough is Enough” legislation and programmes which he introduced in 2011) have produced some valuable results. (The data available to the NDRI researchers was generally only that which had been collected to the end of 2010, so the actual impacts of Henderson’s reforms could not be included. Henderson’s reforms included substantive measures such as the SMART Court, the AOD Tribunal, the Banned Drinkers Register, increased police powers to deal with habitual drunken offenders, and domestic violence prevention and intervention programmes).
If Terry Mills, Robyn Lambley and John Elferink had their heads screwed on properly, they would have moved mountains to ensure that the various departments fast-tracked alcohol-related data collation for the period to the end of 2012, and commissioned an extension of the NDRI study to examine the trends emerging since the end of 2010.
Then they would have been in a much better position to make accurate assessments of the real value of the SMART Court, AOD Tribunal, domestic violence programs, Banned Drinkers Register and the other valuable, long term tax-saving mechanisms which they have very recently demolished with axes via their amateurish “mini-budget”.
The fact that they chose to go with the flow of ideology and prejudice rather than reason and evidence in making these destructive decisions shows that, unfortunately for the people of the NT, they are more like ignorant barbarians than wise rulers.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Billen’s family: Make telling hotel where you trek mandatory
Ruth Gibbins (Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:55 pm): Monika Billen was not at Trephina Gorge, the park reserve about 85 km east of Alice, where the German couple, the Thors, died from thirst or exposure 12 months ago.
Monika visited a different park reserve, Emily Gap, which is only about 10 km east of Alice. She seemingly walked there by herself on a very hot day, above 40 degrees centigrade.
Monika was apparently found under a tree in a rugged area, well away from the road, about three km back towards Alice from that small gorge.
So she died in the bush about seven km east of Alice, but in the bush, off the road.
There is no established walking track through the bush from Emily Gap to Alice.
Sadly, Monika had been missing for a week before anybody realised that she had not returned from her walk to and from Emily gap, along a non-designated route, in the extreme heat.

Police drop MLA’s trespassing charge
InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:52 am): Your statement is highly confusing. Are you really saying that Bruce is like a perpetual victim, identity politician and social justice warrior, and that Sandra Nelson MLA stood him up? I know that Bruce has been a bit of an anti-fracking warrior, but I would have thought that your description of him is a bit excessive.

Firm ‘no’ from PM, Scullion to bailing out ‘bankrupt’ Territory
Evelyne Roullet (Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm): Re your question “Why does a Federal Government help a Labor Government?”
I could just as well ask: “Why shouldn’t a Federal Government help a Labor Government, or any other type of government, for that matter?”
Federal governments of both persuasions help state and territory governments in all manner of ways all the time, and why shouldn’t they?

End of search for Monika Billen
New Tech (Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:38 am): The police announced early in the search that they were making very extensive use of drone technology.

Drug dog sniffs out grog runners
Evelyne (Posted below on January 14, 2019 at 10:15 am) says rhetorically: “Is there a law dictating how much alcohol can be carried in a vehicle? No!”
I have no idea whether Evelyne is correct, but it is evident that she is not aware of the powers conferred on NT police (and now on the NT Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors, aka PALIs) by a new Commonwealth law enacted by John Howard’s Federal Liberal-National Party Coalition government in September 2007. (The Federal law was immediately confirmed by the then NT Government in complementary amendments to its NT Liquor Act).
From that time NT police have been empowered to seize, and keep or destroy, any alcohol when they judge that the person in possession of it may be intending to illegally on-sell it and/or has no intention of consuming it in a place where it is legal to consume alcohol.
This power has formed the basis for almost all the POSI, TBL and PALI activities outside liquor outlets since they were first introduced by police under the Henderson Labor government in May 2012, up to the present day.
So Evelyne, the amount of alcohol in a vehicle is irrelevant. The powers of police to make a judgement about the situation are the key factor.
As for Ms Roullet’s opinion that “People should learn to control their environment”, it is hard to disagree. What an excellent “motherhood statement”.
It is even harder to fathom how Evelyne thinks this might begin to happen, in any constructive, sustainable and just manner, without the great help of the PALIs using the special powers conferred on them back in 2007, especially in relation to those people who are generally the main victims of alcohol-fuelled mayhem and waste: Infants, other children, many women, the weak, the infirm and the elderly. Do you think they should all be trained in the martial arts and issued with tazers and mustard gas, Evelyne?
Under exactly what circumstances do you think people would be able or likely to “learn to control their environment” if they were again engulfed in a tsunami of alcohol, Evelyne?
Would you be there to throw life jackets to the victims of the excessive drinkers?
Or would you prefer to let the survival of the fittest apply, and more generations of children fail to get a fair start in life?

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