Back in 2011 when CLP were returned to Government I …

Comment on Offenders bailed to ‘country’: An option, says police by Graeme Hockey.

Back in 2011 when CLP were returned to Government I wrote a number of discussion papers for David Tollner, my local member, including dealing with drunkenness and domestic violence. In the six plus years since then the situation has got worse. A radical rethink outside the square is needed. What I wrote then follows.
(Some thought on addressing the problem)

• It is a right of all Australians above the age of 18 to drink alcohol but not to take drugs.
• Alcoholism (and drug taking) is a disease that very few can overcome without help.
• Untreated, costs the community and families dearly.
• A major problem is in identifying those who drink alcohol (and take drugs) to a point where anti social behaviour or domestic violence results and being able to do something about it.
• Organisations have attempted to tackle the problem on their own by banning problem drinkers. There is no coordination and addresses only that particular establishment.
• Alcoholism (and drug dependency) is a community problem and can only be addressed with the support of the community as a whole.
Penalising all to control the few is counter-productive.
What is proposed is for those who cause problems due to alcohol be identified and restricted from drinking. The system would be managed by the police with assistance of associated support agencies as follows:

Any time police are involved and it appears that alcohol is a contributing factor, such as:
• Drunk in a public place with offensive behaviour;
• Drunk and fighting in localities such as in or adjacent to sports grounds, clubs, or any public place where police are called;
• In the home where police have been called in a domestic violence situation. or
• Trashing public or private property while drunk including spraying graffiti;
then those involved be taken into custody and identified by fixing a non-removable individually numbered wristband to be placed on only by police and removed only by police. Those banded would be on a police database and an individual would be required to attend a police station after a set period where the band would be removed. Removal would include an administrative fee that covers costs.
‘Banding’ would be done after confirmation that alcohol was involved (confirmed by breathalyser, blood and/or urine sample).
It would include positive ID including personal details, photograph and fingerprinting and even DNA. These would be retained on a data base for police use but not admissible in a court unless other charges were laid at time of banding. The above would also identify drug use.
The banding of a person should not involve a court appearance unless other charges are proposed including refusing to provide breath, and/or blood or urine samples or personal identification.
The right of a banded individual to enter and be in a club or pub environment or such is not restricted. What is restricted is the right of that person to drink alcohol while banded.
To manage, every liquor outlet in the NT be posted with a notice that states that in purchasing alcohol it is a requirement that the purchasers wrist be shown to the person serving. If an individual does not or refuses to show their wrist then it is an offence to serve or sell them alcohol. Further, it would be an offence for a banded person to purchase alcohol. It would be an offence for a person to purchase alcohol for a banded person. If an offence is proven then the offender be banded including a monetary fine.
Banding should be looked on as a management tool to assist in breaking the dependence on alcohol (or drugs) that result in anti social behaviour.
It should be the responsibility of every person to assist those with an alcohol (or drug) problem to overcome that problem.
Police and others would have authority to carry out random checks of those banded to ensure compliance including home visitation.
Banding to be a minimum of three months to double consecutively for repeat offences. In the case of domestic violence six months first offence, doubling consecutively.
During time banded, a minimum of 25 hours of alcohol counselling be required and double that if domestic violence involved.
Removal of a band at a police station, dependant on evidence of completion of counselling course and payment of a fee. The fee to be a deterrent and would cover cost of band, banding and administrative charges.
To limit abuse of system it is proposed that following additional penalties be set.
• Removing of band other than by police. $1000 and /or three months prison plus re banding for extended period.
• Refusing to show wrist and then refusing to leave premises or environs. $200. To include removal to a police station where identification against database checked.
• A licensee or employee knowingly supplying alcohol to a banded person. $1000 and referral to Liquor Commission for action.
• Person selling alcohol not requiring purchaser to show arm or serving customer who it can be reasonably expected to be purchasing for a banded person – $50 for each occasion. An employee must refuse service if any doubt.
• Knowingly purchasing alcohol for banded person. If drinking themselves then seizure / tipping out and banding.
• Refusing to provide air, blood, urine samples or ID. $1000 and banding.
Monetary fines and prison sentences would require a court appearance. The judiciary should not have the luxury of imposing meaningless penalties.
Where at all possible, sentences to be served in a work camp managed by an outsourced company separate from the prison system. To include compulsory alcohol counselling programs run concurrently. This could involve community work in a Territory park or community.
The concept of banding be extended to all situations involving drugs whether alcohol involved or not.

Recent Comments by Graeme Hockey

Former gallery advisor scathing about its planners
Stephen Fry of the English program QI must have been thinking of the NT Government and their advisers when he said at the end of one of his witty sessions some time ago: “The similarity between sperm and politicians is that one in a million may end up as a human being.”

No youth detention facilities in residential areas: MLAs
Our current Chief Minister’s love affair with all things Chinese gives him an opportunity to address the every increasing problems of dealing with youth crime and incarceration while away on regular junkets.
Just a thought, but why not invite a Chinese Government controlled organisation to set up somewhere west of Lake Woods. With their vast experience in handling large numbers of prisoners our burgeoning youth prison population will very quickly become a thing of the past as they learn the error of their ways.
Their feral parents, where warranted, could also be involved.

Panel of just two for controversial Ilparpa decision
Good luck with the 90 objectors concerns the Ilparpa matter being considered by the current chair of the DCA, Ms Suzanne Philip, who has as of 1st August rolled over one year on the job. If the recent DCA decision on the six star Chinese owned hotel at the Darwin Waterfront is anything to go by be prepared for disappointment.
Despite objections that the plan for this hotel is in breach of the Darwin City Waterfront Area Plan the hotel was approved in that Ms Philip ignored the maximum height allowed of 27.5m Australian height Datum by approving a roof line of 40m (13m above the escarpment).
To rub it in a bit more madam chair agreed to the developers proposal, with the 100% support of our current Chief Minister, by ignoring the requirement to provide uninterrupted public access to the waters edge, ie, an extension of the existing esplanade from the Deck Chair Cinema by allowing the exclusive hotel property to go within 4m of the water edge.
To achieve this the existing historical Kitchener Drive plus the undeveloped 100m wide public open space esplanade as shown on the Darwin City Waterfront Area Plan will go.
To compensate, a 4m wide concrete path behind a high concrete wall will be provided for us mere mortals and the walking passengers from the current 40 odd visiting cruise ships that visited Darwin in the last season.
To top it off an aerial walkway from the hotel roof to the top of the esplanade alongside and higher than the Administrator’s residence will result in closure of Hughes Avenue. Our, and your Chief Minister announced $7.5m grant to this proposal (now $15m) when big noting himself when in Washington DC a few months ago.
Honesty is a joke because of politicians.

Aborigines and the economy: where to from here?
What an incredible interview. Practical and reasonable questions. Answers by an academic so out of touch with reality to be unemployable outside of Canberra. Is it any wonder that problems faced by traditional Aboriginals in the Northern Territory are compounding not by the year but by the minute.

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