Janet, thanks for your comment. At least, you have a …

Comment on LETTER: Attack on film crew – should we defer to criminals? by Russell Guy.

Janet, thanks for your comment. At least, you have a go at reply, unlike Alderman Melky whose cone of silence grows more ominous. I will try and explain something about statistical data, but first I challenge you to find anywhere in my writing where I’ve used the word “drunks.” It was, however, used by Steve in his comments regarding the film crew incident. It’s an unfortunate term when used in relation to someone who is alcoholic. To blame the person rather than the cause is an ad hominem argument. Such is the genie in the bottle.
Widely researched statistical data is more than your claim of it being simply an assumption. It is, as you say, an attempt to search for “realities” and is debatable as to whether it’s a preferred method to your somewhat garbled claim that scientists, including medical practitioners are “paternal greed soap box stars.” Your concern about “kids sleeping in a bed in safety” is no doubt well intentioned, but is contradicted by your publicly stated alcohol policies.
Statistics, in this case, help us to understand trends in alcohol consumption. They assist the community and responsible leaders to effect laws or to change existing laws that militate against public order, e.g., takeaway alcohol outlet provisions.
Politics, of course, is a matter of opinion in a democracy, as to what serves the common good, but statistics point out the negative as well as the positive in an attempt to be balanced. That argument is brought to politicians for reasoned debate in a forum such as the Alice Springs Town Council or Legislative Assembly. If you get elected, you will discover that paranoia doesn’t cut it. Winston Churchill used intelligence to encourage England against Hitler’s ambitions. Intelligence is a form of statistical data.
Can you explain what you mean by an “avenglist”? Also,can you supply a reference for your claim of “$600,000” in relation to what report? Again, can we have the reference to your claim of “$10m+”? What are you referring to here?
Please add these questions to those which you have not answered to date. Here is an easy reference list.
Under the story “Council should not be in government’s pocket, says mayoral candidate Brown” Steve states: “We’ve escalated all levels of crime one hundred fold.” A trauma surgeon at Alice Springs hospital has suggested that the number of women being treated for stab wounds has decreased and that this statistic could be linked to increased alcohol restrictions (ABC radio. 20/11/10). Do you refute this?
Would the Arrente want a National Aboriginal Culture Centre in Alice Springs?
Under the heading “Unseating an incumbent: not easy but not impossible” and in relation to your stand against further alcohol restrictions, indeed, winding back existing restrictions, have you thought about the rights of children currently disadvantaged by the river of grog or those yet to be born (see Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)?
As your policy is “Make those who misbehave pay the price and leave everyone else alone” (posted 11/2/12 at 5:01pm, what plans do you have for the children’s safety while you arrest and penalise their alcoholic parents whom you think have a right to drink whenever they like (it’s a privilege under law, not a right and has nothing to do with your claim of discrimination)?
Do you think it would help to reduce the amount of alcohol available on any given day (I refer specifically to take-away alcohol outlets) in the interests of managing public alcoholism?

Russell Guy Also Commented

LETTER: Attack on film crew – should we defer to criminals?
Janet, you have blindsided yourself to the obvious fact that excessive alcohol consumption and bad behaviour are linked. Your vision has diminishing returns for the tourist industry on which the prosperity of Alice Springs relies, not to mention property values and quality of life.
We have many museums, some privately owned, some public and some community operated, all of which tell the history of Central Australia. Do we need another culture centre to do this? Your idea needs a re-think, like just about all the social policies you have posted to date.


LETTER: Attack on film crew – should we defer to criminals?
Yes, Janet and it will continue to be so as long as you and others advocate the kind of alcohol policies which dodge the question of restricting take-away outlets.
Your facetious comments continue to talk the town down because you see the statistical data that points to excessive alcohol consumption in Alice Springs as “idiotic.”
NT residents over fifteen years of age drink 15 litres of pure alcohol per head a year on average, compared to 10 litres for other Australians. In Alice Springs, consumption averages 20 litres per head (PAAC media release. 7/2/12). Take-away alcohol accounts for 70% of all sales in the NT (NTG media release. 31/3/11).
Your position is all over the place. One minute you’re talking about those who talk the town down and then you’re at it yourself. It’s not too late for you and Steve to wake up to the need for take-away restrictions and thereby solve a lot of the issues that you raise, but that would mean arriving at a position of consensus with those who oppose you.
At least, it would be a position that has a firm moral compass and on which the town could unite to try and move forward.


LETTER: Attack on film crew – should we defer to criminals?
You’re a one-trick pony, Steve. You just don’t get it, do you? You “yell from the rooftops, loud and often” and beat your silver breasted chest, while more than a few others have, time and again, tried to tell you something, but you’re not listening. You blame “a couple of drunks” while advocating unrestricted alcohol sales. How dumb is that?


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Alcohol floor price may breach Australian Constitution
The fact that no action is being taken by the Winemakers Federation, preferring instead to work with the NT Government; that there have been no casks larger than two litres in the NT for several years and in Alice Springs for several more, because they are banned, we should be encouraged by their example, along with other retailers who have shown similar intent.
Tourist tipple and alcohol problems in the NT are interrelated. In a recent post, I pointed out the illogic of sacrificing current levels of visible alcohol-related harm to the tourist economy, which will only cause further decline.
The Mandatory Treatment Act (2013), since repealed, highlighted how harmful and disempowering alcohol restrictions can be, particularly where Indigenous communities have not been involved in their development.
While Steve Brown appears to consider it a “do gooder” issue and appeals for ice containment, he ignores the need for alcohol supply restriction in the general community, a product, it could be argued, of laissez faire capitalism over 50 years, culminating in corner stores trading in takeaway alcohol seven days a week.
Mr Brown compounds his approach by wishing that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was not a problem, allegedly within Indigenous communities.
It would be better if he, and others of a similar opinion, evinced the same desire for alcohol management through community coalitions backed by government regulation or government‐initiated community partnerships, which according to a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Public Health Journal, “have been successful in harnessing local knowledge and Indigenous social systems to curb the unintended impacts of alcohol regulation”.
The article revealed that improved health and social outcomes, for example, by tethering demand reduction programs to supply restrictions had been achieved.
Outrage over the disempowerment of Grey Nomads to purchase a cask of cheap wine, while the harmful use of alcohol among Territorians continues at levels in excess of the national average, ignores the possibility of a community-led solution, even when governments repeal poorly consulted legislation such as the MTA.
In the mid-1980s, Territorians died from being stabbed by glass flagons. Casks were introduced by governments working with the winemakers and less harm eventuated.
It didn’t curtail harmful levels of consumption, nor the granting of takeaway licenses, but the NT Government, acting on recommendations from Justice Riley’s Report, is facing up to the cost of those unacceptable levels and investigating ways of working with the underlying cultural problems.
Learning from history on which evidence-based legislation like soft packaging and a demand reduction floor price is based seems more appropriate than sticking one’s head in the sand.


Ice Age in Alice
Four balls coming back over the net. Policy on the run.
@ Local 1: Comparing Queensland with the NT is apples and oranges. Been crossing the border all my life, not just for a week.
@ Steve Brown: I want to see evidence for your claims, not just anecdotal. Been there.
@ John Bell: Commonsense has been missing in action and @ Paul Parker, same thing.
Tolerance, common sense and reason were the founding values of the European Enlightenment. Not going well.
Finally, to all, I speak for myself, not for PAAC, whose evidence-based campaign assisted the NT Government in micro-managing the issue of liberal alcohol supply with a floor price. The claim that it makes all alcohol more expensive is incorrect.


Ice Age in Alice
The floor price is not a “silver bullet.”
There is none. There are only a suite of measures to reduce levels of supply, including the BDR.
A floor price targets the cheapest alcohol sold, mostly cask wine, consumed by the most desperate addicts, including pregnant women.
Canada and Scotland have a floor price.
It was introduced this week in the NT after a long evidence-based campaign.
Cynicism is an easy choice, but I’ve been involved in reducing alcohol-related harm in the NT since 1986 when I produced four songs with Indigenous band, Coloured Stone for the NT Road Safety Board.
If you allow yourself to get cynical and negative about drugs, of which alcohol is one of the most prevalent, then you might as well accept the carnage as inevitable.
Take the opposition over the recent Master’s Games request by the police for light and midstrength beer.
One of your readers posted anonymously, calling those who lobby to turn the tap down a “mob” who are only interested in prohibition. That’s hysteria.
The NT Government is currently looking into the seven days a week take away grog licensing regime.
Australia has a culture of alcoholism, particularly around sport.
Changing that culture, currently costing NT taxpayers $640m p.a. is a positive step towards putting money into ice rehab.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
@ “Ray”. My argument for turning the tap down (not off, as you insinuate with your anonymous post), exposes your confusion, but it clarifies one point.
It will be hypocritical for you to point to the Indigenous as being responsible for the town’s social problems again.
While you busy yourself over being “the laughing stock of the country”, the hospital and police records continue to speak for themselves and show no sign of abating, due to what is a culture of alcoholism.
It was the police who requested light and midstrength beer be served at this sporting event.
As an attendee at last Friday’s National Police Remembrance Day, the names of those officers who were killed in the line of duty was sobering, yet they who we appoint to serve and protect are fobbed off.
Justifying the capitulation on the economy and giving back to the “community” is evidence of your confusion, but as cultural tourism is the vogue, it will be interesting to see how long before you start referring to “the section of the community that has the issue” again.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
Why such despondency, “Ray”?
The streets of Alice Springs are paved with gold if you have eyes to see.
They need not be awash with the consequences of alcoholism.
Turn the tap down (not off) and you will see how a great town can come back from fifty years of an uncapped flow.


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