@ Dave Price. Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:15 …

Comment on MLA Bess Price on ‘the killing of our women, abuse of our kids’ by Russell Guy.

@ Dave Price. Posted June 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm.
Thanks for replying to these requests, Dave. I think yours is worthy of a reply.
Your personal view that the BDR is not one I share.
I believe that the ID scanning system for obtaining take-away alcohol is the best to emerge so far, as one measure of supply control in the increasing alcohol-abuse crisis in central Australia. The BDR was part of that.
As one who works near and among roadhouses for many years, I can say that at a bare minimum, the BDR was cause for some whom I know very well, to comment that the government had introduced something that shows that they cared about their alcoholism and, for some, it was a point of honour that they were on the BDR because it was considered a positive intervention in their situation.
This goes to the heart of your post. Governments have the responsibility of education, although, as you may know, many Christian missions established education prior to government of the day including Aboriginal children.
Cultural education, whether it be in the basic three Rs or drink-driving campaigns, of which I was personally involved in the NT in the early 1980s, serves to educate citizenry in what is going on in the changing world around them (I also organised dances in the Yuendemu town hall most months for a year or two in the mid-1980s).
So, while not an “expert” – an unfortunate term that ranks with “Loopy Left” and “Do-gooder” as a way of dismissing an argument without engaging with it – I guess I’m one of the “Boffas” of this world.
However, I agree with you that “governments need to attack both the demand and supply side of the grog problem.” It is heartening to see the NT Licensing Commission making supply side modifications at Top Springs.
I hope they listen to the Borrooloola police as well and I’m encouraged by the Chief Minister’s comments about listening to those who wish to involve themselves in alcohol management plans.
Mr Giles is referring to Aboriginal people, but non-Indigenous should be able to do the same and in this respect, I make my contribution.
I offer my support as a member of the community to all those who face problems with alcohol, something which in my decades-long advocacy, I have observed to be an increasing social problem and one into which I was acculturated.
I wrote an article for the AS News Online last year in which I noted that certain alcohol producers were advertising that their product now contained “Over 33% More” by way of a sticker on the bottle.
I also think that a floor price is an excellent supply side modification in that it makes the price of a unit of alcohol the same in every product on the floor and cuts out the cheap plonk, which we both know is heavily abused, a cause of self-harm that impacts the public health burden and responsible for many deaths. Evidence has shown that this is an effective measure in several countries.
I am not so much of an “expert” as someone like Dr Boffa or Bob Durnan, in that they post with greater evidence based knowledge than I, but I respect the fact that they do and I’m grateful that they exhibit good citizenship by doing so.
You write that you “don’t want to hear” from them and would rather hear from “the people with the problem,” but the people I know and live with are not likely to voice their opinion in the public arena for a variety of reasons. Not everyone has the courage for a start.
To conclude, some of us have long experience of living with alcohol in the NT and have family, like you, who have lost their lives to alcohol-abuse, unfairly I might add, at a young age and I still think about those friends who did so back in the mid-1980s when I was based in Tennant for a while and when Dr Boffa cared for them.
Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that we can all knock down the walls between the cattle carts on this road train.
The debate is still polarized, but if we focus on the things that we have in common and I have tried to note some of them in this post, we may get a more sensible outcome. The last sentence in your earlier post at this site supports this.

Russell Guy Also Commented

MLA Bess Price on ‘the killing of our women, abuse of our kids’
@ Dave Price. Posted June 9, 2013 at 10:53 am.
There’s a difference between a technocrat and an autocrat, Dave. Your opinion does matter.
I define an alcoholic as someone who drinks to the point of knowingly self-harming, but unable to moderate or rehabilitate. That addiction is fuelled by an over-supply of alcohol, e.g., the current ridiculous personal daily limit available at take-away outlets seven days per week.
The Mandatory Rehabilitation Bill seeks to rehabilitate while not moderating supply. I don’t believe it will ever get on top of the alcohol problem and that more needs to be done.
I’m suggesting supply modification as a means of dealing with the crisis of alcoholism in Australia, just like Britain has done by introducing a floor price. We should learn from that.
It’s my opinion that much Indigenous male-on-female violence has its source in stress and anger which is expressed by the lowering of inhibition caused by alcohol.
The six recommendations encapsulated below, which I have titled “Six Steps to a Better NT” are, I feel, deserving of comment.
1. Across the NT, takeaway alcohol should only be available from 2pm.
2. Limit on site trading hours at licensed premises from Noon to 2am.
3. The return of alcohol sales-free days, especially Thursdays on which all Centrelink payments should be synchronised.
4. For productivity sake, take-away should be banned on Sundays.
5. Restore the BDR as a crisis management tool.
6. Introduce a floor price so that a unit of alcohol cannot be sold for less than an agreed price.
I look forward to comment on these six steps by statesperson citizens such as yourself.


MLA Bess Price on ‘the killing of our women, abuse of our kids’
@ Steve Brown. You define paternalism as a general statement by which you argue that Aboriginal people have been denied the same social benefits afforded other Australians, but when you include alcohol, you confuse social policy and racism. Racism is one thing, but excessive alcohol supply is another


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