Dear Anonymous Glad to be Gone, Your comments are largely gratuitous, …

Comment on Memo Club suspends trading, goes into voluntary administration. Town & Country to close tomorrow. by Russell Guy.

Dear Anonymous Glad to be Gone,
Your comments are largely gratuitous, but in saying “I see a number of people quoting all sorts of facts and figures. These are useless if the main group does not want to help themselves,” I have to ask whether you are referring to indigenous as your main group, or the community as a whole?
If you are referring to the latter, then I agree. If you are referring to the former, and I believe you are because of your “ciggy/humbug” remark, then how can they help themselves while the two pubs are pouring take-away into their long-term addiction, seven days a week?
That this has in many tragic cases, become a demented psychosis escapes most people. One could make the same analogy with heroin. Please read my Comment piece “The Devil’s Big Day Out” for some thirty-year background on this escalating problem, exacerbated by incoming urban drift.
Your inference that the NT Government and the Feds are weak is not sustained by the Stronger Futures and Enough is Enough initiatives, both of which have great potential to impact positively on the problem of excessive alcohol supply in Alice Springs.
The Tennant Creek police put eleven people on the banned drinkers register last week. What a pity Thirsty Thursday was compromised. Alice should be able to learn from it and bring in take-away restrictions.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Tribunal is starting up and Alcohol Management Plans are in train. The hapless law and order merchants of Alice will get a big stick from the Feds in the law and order department, if they’re determined to bring on a fight, but what a colossal no-brainer!
The Memo Club’s closure may be sheeted home to other causes, e.g. the substantial online ordering of grog from interstate and market forces, such as other clubs drawing patronage away from a crime hot-spot.
The issue of crime needs to be looked at once the excessive take-away alcohol supply is restricted. If an overlying mess is cleared away, physicians can determine which bleeders need attention and how to treat them.
In any case, failure of the community to address excessive alcohol supply has a role in the demise of the Memo and it won’t be constrained by attacking the symptoms via law and order.
It’s a tragic shame, because leaving town is not an option for most of those caught up in this vicious circle, but the moral argument is lost on those who are addicted to the same drug.
On that note, who cares if another Gin Palace or three go to the wall? The Memo Club may have supported youth sporting organizations in the past, but they’re just cultivating the grog culture and indoctrinating youth into the rituals of drunkenness. What a bunch of Philistines!
Stronger Futures is designed for the future. Scaremongering closures designed to support the need for Law and Order are just that. Bah humbug!

Russell Guy Also Commented

Memo Club suspends trading, goes into voluntary administration. Town & Country to close tomorrow.
Dear John Barnes, I’m not an advisor to any government, simply a citizen concerned with the over-representation of alcohol outlets – pubs, clubs and take-aways – that has gutted a town in which I decided to live in 1977.
Like Domenico Peocrari, I share Bob Durnan’s concerns. A boutique wine bar with gourmet tapas, though not my cup of tea, may sound like a nice attraction to the CBD next to what is more often a public courtyard grog shanty by day, but why is grog seen as sacrosanct when it comes to business survival?
The number of art galleries that have gone bust is not because of violence-related crime. They’ve shut their doors for other reasons – the GFC’s effect on discretionary income, the high $A effect on overseas visitors, surely you’d agree that this has some effect on businesses such as Town and Country and Sporties. The Memo has different reasons, many of which have been elaborated in postings at this site.
Law and order candidates’ exclusion of excessive alcohol supply as a perpetrator of crime is its own conspiracy against all the evidence presented by numerous individuals in all walks of life, before, during and after this election campaign if the community lets them get away with it at the polling booth.
Domenico’s view that tourism can be stimulated by a take-away restriction regime is only one of the real economic benefits which they are missing.


Memo Club suspends trading, goes into voluntary administration. Town & Country to close tomorrow.
Kevin, you stand afar and hurl lightning bolts like Jove, when praying to Jehovah would be more your calling.
The last thing we need is a know-it all, itinerant preacher taking up a seat in the grandstand.
If you want to front the situation in Alice, then rock-up and get your hands dirty, but consider reading related posts from the past weeks of this debate.
In your enthusiasm to direct traffic, you miss the whole point of a take-away restriction on excessive supply.


Memo Club suspends trading, goes into voluntary administration. Town & Country to close tomorrow.
Hal, I can understand you, and no doubt, many others wanting to get off the alcohol debate. It’s been with us seven days a week for so long and we’re all tired of it. Your post reinforces that fact, but it won’t go away with just one day of take-away restriction. Try three, like some others are now proposing. The alternative is not worth imagining.
Naturally occurring urban drift is exacerbated by lack of housing which is a huge issue, as in other parts of the world with the same problem. I haven’t heard any election candidate acknowledge housing, apart from John Reid who seems to be showing leadership in his policy statements around this issue.
In regard to the feral children, it’s my opinion that this can be attributed to the tragedy of alcoholism in their immediate and extended family, indeed, the disease is endemic after fifty years in Aboriginal societies. The breakdown is well documented. I’ve been saying this for weeks in these posts.
I know an Anmatjerre boy of six, who calls my name and when he sees me all he says is “book,” because I’ve given him two. His father has been absent for the past three months in prison, for alcohol-related offences.
This nice little boy lacks discipline and is distracted. I’m concerned for his schooling and future. If he were my boy, or your boy, wouldn’t you be angry about his chances under the circumstances described above?
Your comments about the Gold Coast, Sydney’s west and the Top End are well founded. Australia has an escalating excessive alcohol supply problem costing taxpayers $15billion a year (NAAA. 3/12). Add Byron Bay to your list.
I helped a friend whose business is emptying wheelie bins from holiday lettings there over Christmas. Bin after wheelie bin, seven days a week for two weeks, full of bottles of all description, beer, spirits, champagne. You would think that maybe Alice has a chance to avoid this.


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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