Alice, take charge of alcohol measures

I’ve had a quick look and cannot find any other instance of an 80% majority needed to initiate a change. And yet agreement of eight of its ten members is what will be needed if the newly commissioned Alcohol Reference Group is to succeed in forming a new alcohol management plan for Alice Springs.

 

Hopefully eight of the ten will rise to the challenge and ask Darwin to reinstate the Banned Drinkers Register.

It’s not every government that has a Good Idea. Few governments have more than one. Our last ALP government struck gold with the BDR.

 

Unfortunately this Good Idea was scrapped two years ago by the incoming CLP government, and for no better reason than they had made an ill-considered election promise. This was not a good idea.

 

I’m sure most of us remember the weekend and weeks following that election. A promise was kept, the BDR was tossed and our humble Ship of State nearly foundered on the shoals of unrestrained alcohol consumption.

 

Realising we were near drowning, a hasty restraint was thrown together. NT Police were taken from more pressing duties and stationed outside our take-aways.

 

Once there, they were told to keep the peace while checking IDs. How this was any different or any better than the BDR’s ID checks, the cause of so many howls of execration, was never fully explained.

 

But the CLP government persisted. Excuses were made, stats were bandied about and the police remain there to this day.

 

Surely there is a better way to employ highly motivated and expensively trained police than to have them standing around checking IDs.

 

Now the Powers That Be seem to be acknowledging that something else is needed. Notwithstanding all their effort, every community still has an alcohol problem, and each has been given the right to decide how to tackle it.

Tennant Creek has opted to reinstate the BDR. We could do likewise.

 

So it’s over to you, Damien Ryan. You’re sitting in another chair. You’ve earned another hat. Please do the right thing. Free up the police to do police work and bring back the Banned Drinkers Register. You can swing it if you will.

Be Sociable, Share!

8 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Russell Guy
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    @ Janet Brown. Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:50 am
    “The BDR put decent Aboriginals at risk including the elderly. Forced to buy alcohol for those who could not.”
    This is the same argument that David presented to which I have already replied. The BDR, if it was continued, would have functioned within a suite of measures designed to limit self harm, alcohol-related violence and hopefully, reduce the taxpayer-funded stump-up for alcohol industry profits. Obviously, the Tennant Creek Liquor Accord sees merit in it.
    “You all look in one area – I have seen the suffering in the lives of the vulnerable. But none of you seem to care. Or you just do not want to know. No-one cares about the people.” You can’t be serious.
    “Changing lives is the first step. People employed and busy. Work for the dole programs, kids in school. That is how change will happen. That is how you change lives.”
    Are you saying that all the measures introduced to restrict alcohol, which is not just legal, but a drug, responsible for countless deaths on the road and off, are unnecessary? I don’t think so, but your simplistic recipe for social chaos is out of step with recent State government attention.
    “It’s how are we going to control access to grog. We will do this we will do that. We know what’s best for the people. We are so superior. I do not think I am more superior. And I will not judge. It is not mine or your position to be judge over others. If the behaviour is criminal then that is for the police. Personal responsibility.” Minister Elferink has backed off on criminalising pregnant women who drink.

    View Comment
  2. Janet Brown
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Hal. Your question is based on what I was saying: no-one cares about the people. It’s how are we going to control access to grog. We will do this we will do that. We know what’s best for the people. We are so superior. I do not think I am more superior. And I will not judge. I do not consume alcohol I am actually allergic to it. It is not mine or your position to be judge over others. If the behaviour is criminal then that is for the police. Personal responsibility.

    View Comment
  3. Hal Duell
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:52 am

    @ Janet Brown
    I’m not looking to get into an argument here, but I do have one question, please.
    As you correctly state, alcohol is a legal substance. Are you arguing from that fact that access to it should be without restriction in the same way we have unrestricted access to bread, butter and pork chops?
    Thanks, Hal.

    View Comment
  4. Janet Brown
    Posted March 29, 2014 at 7:50 am

    @ Russell, tell that to the people bullied and threatened by thugs and criminals.
    The BDR put decent Aboriginals at risk including the elderly. Forced to buy alcoholfor those who could not.
    I knew of too many elderly Aboriginal people who would be bashed if they did not get grog for sons daughters or other family members.
    It increased assaults in the Aboriginal areas almost 10 fold. Those assaults have almost disappeared and that is due to the removal of the BDR. You all look in one area – I have seen the suffering in the lives of the vulnerable. But none of you seem to care. Or you just do not want to know.
    I am not a supporter of the police at grog outlets. The humbuggers are just further away but still there. Police are doing their job as directed by their bosses. Alcohol is a legal substance.
    Everyone of you is pointing the finger of contempt and judgement. And I am yet to hear or read about compassion and care. Changing lives is the first step. People employed and busy. Work for the dole programs, kids in school. That is how change will happen.
    That is how you change lives.

    View Comment
  5. Russell Guy
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    @ David. Posted March 28, 2014 at 6:21 am
    I know where you’re coming from in the maxi-bus, David and I’m not pushing any political barrow, but he BDR was dismantled without a chance to really prove itself and at a cost of approx 2.5m.
    ID scanning has a lot going for it and it is well-recognised that to reduce alcohol-related harm to individuals and the community, a multi-pronged approach is required.
    The cost of the BDR vs. police stationed at outlets is considerably less and is not race-sensitive. Blackfellas were not the only ones on the BDR.
    Self-harm and the cost of alcohol-abuse to the taxpayer are required focus in solving this situation. The BDR can play a significant role. It has recently been re-introduced in Tennant (See current edition of Alcohol Watch).

    View Comment
  6. David
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 6:21 am

    As a maxi taxi driver I can tell you the BDR was a joke. With eight passengers there was always someone that wasn’t banned. They always got grog no matter what. Only Labor Party stooges reckon it worked. Manning the bottleshops with police is the only effective method so far at cutting humbug in town. People complain it is tying up police resources but there isn’t much need for them to be attending rapes, murders and assaults. Next step is 100% of money on the basic card so that no welfare bludger has the chance to party all day while we go to work and our taxes pay for them.

    View Comment
  7. Chris
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I don’t mind being asked by the police where I live and where will I be drinking the booze I had just purchased. I can walk around the shopping complexes without being hassled. Speak to the police, they say it’s a good idea. Great job, go the police.

    View Comment
  8. Ian Sharp
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Well said, Hal Duell. Over to you, Damien.

    View Comment

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*