@ Russell Guy. February, 10. How come nobody picked me …

Comment on LETTER: Macklin’s government berates NT over liquor policies, but funded the purchase of three booze shops, says Tollner by Russell Guy.

@ Russell Guy. February, 10. How come nobody picked me up on the fact that Julia Gillard is not the “elected” Prime Minister? What’s wrong with you mob?

Russell Guy Also Commented

LETTER: Macklin’s government berates NT over liquor policies, but funded the purchase of three booze shops, says Tollner
@ Arthur Bell. If some of us are “too close” Arthur, and Janet has admitted to focussing only on what she knows, i.e., the Alice CBD as opposed to life out bush, then you are surely too far away. Having read your half a dozen posts over the past twelve months on this issue, it’s a fair bet that you are not posting with your tongue firmly in your cheek.
You appear to have missed the responsibility argument in these posts recently, whereby those, like yourself, claiming individual responsibility is solely at fault for the lamentable alcohol misuse situation in Central Australia, absolve the alcohol industry from any responsibility.
According to this logic, we’d still be inhaling passive smoke in public places.


LETTER: Macklin’s government berates NT over liquor policies, but funded the purchase of three booze shops, says Tollner
Name an instance where I have been “screaming” for “more funding”, Janet. Let’s see you back that with some facts.
Although, I am seeking a bipartisan solution, I am happy to be associated with Julia Gillard in calling for accountability in alcohol supply and, to use Robyn Lambley’s words, “stem the flow of alcohol” (Aust. 6/2/13).
In the circumstances, with evidence laid on the table almost every other day revealing the dark side of over-supply, it’s the decent thing to do.
I wish there were more Australians calling for the financial and mortality statistics and that there were more governments prepared to censor the alcohol industry’s perceived right to peddle a restricted drug without accountability.
The so-called “responsible service of alcohol” is Gillard’s right as the elected Prime Minster to investigate, or are you happy being part of a drug-dealing cover-up?
Perhaps, when Bob Beadman’s prophecy of NT bankruptcy under NTG alcohol policy is fulfilled, you might understand the basic issue of alcohol misuse which is sapping taxpayers, black and white.


LETTER: Macklin’s government berates NT over liquor policies, but funded the purchase of three booze shops, says Tollner
The NTG Minister for Alcohol Rehabilitation and Alcohol Policy should have his portfolio retitled Alcohol Rehabilitation and Alcohol Industry Support Policy. That’s far more accurate.
The three liquor licences he refers to do serve non-Indigenous people as do all the other licenses which the CLP granted during their tenure over the past forty years.
It’s that sort of policy that the NTG Minister now turns on the Federal Minister and accuses her of hypocrisy. As Warren Mundine has noted, it’s the old blackfeller political football that the NTG Minister is kicking, which leaves me in no doubt as to the racist nature of his remarks and therefore confident that he is off the mark.
The NT Minister also appears to absolve the alcohol industry of any social responsibility, e.g., failure to place health warnings on its products so that the Federal Government has to step in this year and mandate some kind of deterrent to the increasing levels of alcohol that have been creeping up the scale in products over the past twenty years.
Or the social positivism of the industry’s advertising campaigns, promoting a lifestyle that too often ends in the Emergency Room of a hospital, the roadside attendance of the police, or a knock on the door late at night, but negativism is considered wowserism, rather than wisdom.
The West Australians continue to gather data in terms of white youth binge drinking, but as in the removal of the BDR, the NTG is not generous in pursuit of upmarket alcohol misuse statistics. It’s all so one-sided in apportioning blame, Minister.
The social flow-on from the NTG alcohol policy is destined to bankrupt the Territory, according to Bob Beadman as reported in the Alice Springs News Online recently.
It’s unfortunate that the NTG Minister doesn’t realise the economic aspects of his policy direction in leaving the supply tap turned up seven days a week and discarding the use of any repressant leverage like many other jurisdictions awash with alcohol social problems. You can’t rehabilitate them all, but you can cut supply. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.


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.


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor