1. The PALIs started full-time at bottle shops on …

Comment on Grog stats: No independent review by Vicki Gillick.

1. The PALIs started full-time at bottle shops on 1st October 2018, not August. Since then there has been a clear and dramatic reduction in alcohol-related assaults – unless the police are making it up.
2. When sworn police were conducting TBLs or POSIs at the bottle shops, their attendance became sporadic, and PAAC frequently complained publicly about their absences. You can find numerous media releases on www.paac.org.au or search for stories online.
3. I said the statistics came from NT Police and Health because they do come from those sources. Look them up; it is simple. Put in an FoI application.
4. The BDR, as explained to the Alice Springs News, was indeed re-introduced in September 2017. That does not mean that the approximately 4,000 people in the NT who are now on it, were immediately registered. Police had expected it would reach up to 7,000 in its first year, but it has not done so to date.
Professionals other than police probably need to be more willing to refer clients to the BDR Registrar, but no doubt some remain concerned about confidentiality with clients. It is correct that they are not compelled to refer.
5. It is our understanding that the alcohol reform measures will be rigorously evaluated. This is something PAAC has lobbied for over a long period. This does not mean that the full-time PALIs and arguably the other measures have no current effect; nor does it mean the NT police and Health are cooking the books. As suggested when we spoke, you could contact the head of ED at the ASP hospital, Dr. Gourley.
6. You report that: “In February 2016 PAAC spokesman John Boffa said there should be an immediate evaluation of the Temporary Beat Location (TBL – the forerunner of the PALIs) and he called for an alternative ID scanning system.”
That’s right – because the sporadic presence of what were then TBLs was staring to become apparent in the police data. That was in February 2016 and we wanted the then Giles government to evaluate the TBLs to see if they worked. We still want the PALis to be evaluated, and the current NT Government has agreed (in keeping with the Riley Review’s recommendation) that this will be done.
7. Check the meaning of “disingenuous”.

Recent Comments by Vicki Gillick

Cops at bottle shops: expensive bluff?
The power to seize vehicles carrying liquor into alcohol-prohibited areas has existed in the NT for decades. This is nothing new.
The introduction of the full-time PALI system in Alice Springs on October 1 last year, following the Riley Review’s recommendations, has contributed to a very significant reduction in alcohol-related assaults, alcohol-related domestic violence assaults, and alcohol-related ED presentations.
These figures are from NT Police and Health:
Oct 2017 – Mar 2018 total alcohol-related assaults: 722
Oct 2018 – Mar 2019 total alcohol-related assaults: 360
Difference: 362 or –50.13%
Oct 2017 – Mar 2018: DV alcohol-related assaults: 442
Oct 2018 – Mar 2019: DV alcohol-related assaults: 245
Difference: 197 or –44.57%
ED presentations alcohol-related ASP Hospital
Oct 2017 – Feb 2018: 2161
Oct 2018 – Feb 2019: 1184
Difference: 977 or –45.21%
There is undoubtedly a bit of cost-saving – economic, health and social – associated with these reductions.
It appears this measure is making the community safer, and it will be evaluated – not as a hypothetical, but using factual information. In the meantime, we should be thankful for the improved amenity in the town and the reduced number of assaults.
“Reasonable grounds” may not be definitively explained in legislation, but the law is far from silent on this test. Try your search engine.
The new PALI powers that allow people to be questioned in car parks and vehicles are an extension, and their use does need to be monitored, as PAAC has argued in its submission on the Exposure Draft of the Liquor Bill 2019.
The scheme itself we know is discriminatory, because it affects mainly those who live on alcohol-prohibited land, and they are of course Aboriginal people.
It is likely that if challenged, however, it would be found to be a form of positive discrimination, or “special measure” aimed at improving the circumstances of Aboriginal people.
Its applications should not be discriminatory. PALIs should be approaching all-comers.
Whilst Erwin maintains a stated preference for bottle shops to open just one day a week, the chances of this occurring are non-existent.
We will just have to put up with evidence-based reforms and rigorous evaluations.

Much less drunken violence an early Christmas present
Dear Anonymous: See here and here.

Much less drunken violence an early Christmas present
@ Steve Brown: PAAC has never backed off from arguing for what works, and has supported the presence of police, and now PALIs, outside bottle shops for a long time – based on evidence. The sporadic presence of police in the past couple of years has been the result of police decisions.
The posting of officers at bottle shops has at times depended on who was in charge. PAAC has not held back from lobbying the police and the government about this erratic presence. You can find numerous media releases on our website – or Google.
The current Government took the position that TBLs or POSIs were an operational matter – a separation of powers argument if you like, and the result was certainly very frustrating at times. Thanks to the Riley Review and its implementation, we now have PALIs doing this work.
The BDR is not useless. There are currently around 2500 people on it in the NT, but the residence-based inquiries of PALIs certainly work. There is no doubt that the scheme is discriminatory, but arguably it is positive discrimination.
Not sure if you have made much constructive contribution to this debate in the past Steve, either as a town councillor, political candidate, or individual, but we are happy to be pointed in the direction of any references.
PAAC is a lobby group, and it pursues whoever is in government, whether the ALP or your old party, the CLP. We also lobby the Police Commissioner and respond to the police union – the NT Police Association – which has strongly opposed the use of sworn officers outside take-away outlets.
There are several factors contributing to the ongoing reduction in consumption, and it is true that the legislated floor price is unlikely to affect Alice as much as Darwin, which has sadly seen little in the way of reforms over the years. Our supermarkets have led on voluntary pricing, as you would, or should, know.
PAAC isn’t hanging its head in shame, and it doesn’t seek to take full credit for beneficial change. But we are pleased that we finally have a combination of measures which, when evaluated, will hopefully show what has the best effect and what is the benefit to the community.
We also have some progressive changes to the Liquor Act, including the power of the Police Commissioner to suspend trading (available to police in WA for some time), and an onus on licence applicants to meet a community interest test.
These are very interesting times for alcohol reform in the NT, and it is worth reflecting on how far we have come in the past twenty years. It’s a complex issue, and supply reduction is certainly not the only solution, but it helps a lot. Check out Opal fuel.
So, no head-hanging, no shamefulness. Let’s be thankful for the changes in ED presentations, and here’s to peace on the streets and food on the table. Merry Christmas.

Al Strangeways wins Portrait of a Senior Territorian
That’s a beautiful painting of Kathleen, Al Strangeways. Congratulations.

Youth crisis: broken window of tolerance
Great article Rainer. Very insightful. Good on you.

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