Friday, June 21, 2024

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HomeIssue 51After years of carrot, time for the stick: Adam Giles

After years of carrot, time for the stick: Adam Giles

The stick needs to be added to the carrot to enforce parental responsibility, reduce youth crime and get able-bodied people off the dole, says Member for Braitling Adam Giles (pictured).
If that is not done, none of the other initiatives will work.
He was responding to more than 40 comments posted by Alice Springs News Online readers, voicing extreme frustration with yet another summer of crime, are concerned that people will take the law into their own hands, and are urging the end of unconditional welfare.
“I am a firm believer in mutual responsibility,” says Mr Giles, and if that can’t be achieved by education and campaigns, then sanctions such as withdrawing welfare payments should be brought in.
Before the Federal Labor Government came to power freezing welfare payments for six weeks was one of the sanctions in force, he says.
“There needs to be greater enforcement.”
Welfare payments made with inadequate conditions, as well as subsidised housing, health and education have locked people into welfare dependence.
Already existing rules such as withdrawing the dole when people refuse to accept jobs “are not implemented as strenuously as they should”.
Many people are not “contributors to society” which even in a “subsistence society has been required forever and a day”.
Says Mr Giles: “There are jobs in Alice Springs, whole range of them, low skilled and unskilled.
“But many employers have taken on people before, got burned in some cases.”
Such workers should not be allowed back on the dole.
“Society needs a safety net, it’s a good thing, but it can’t be a system discouraging people from going to work.”
He says people must not take the law into their hands but concedes there is a “hardened core group” of criminals not effectively dealt with by authorities.
The way bail is being used needs to be reformed so that repeat offenders are not put “back out into the streets. We need to protect society”.
Mr Giles says “boot camps, tough love camps and even detention” need to be used on a broader scale.
He says he does not agree with the proposition that Indigenous people do not need to work because generations ago their land had been colonised.
“I don’t accept that. It’s a pathetic scapegoat response,” he says.
“We have gone beyond that. We are one community. Before settlement people had jobs, different jobs, but they were carrying out their responsibilities to their communities.”
Mr Giles says more stringent alcohol regulations are not the answer to the problems of crime and youth neglect, because they would be dealing with the symptoms, not the cause, which is many people’s refusal to “participate in society.
“Nothing will change while their only focus, when they wake up in the morning, is to get pissed.”
If we reduce availability of alcohol people are simply going to switch to ganja or other drugs.
Should the baby bonus be denied to mothers who recklessly harm their unborn by abusing alcohol?
Mr Giles does not think so: “It’s difficult to prove cause and effect” of children’s disabilities.


  1. Where was the Member for Braitling when all this was being discussed seven or eight months ago in the Alice Springs News Online?
    The re-organisation of Centrelink and the incoming job creation programs were debated at length, but like many of our politicians, he sat back and sniffed the electoral wind?
    Perhaps, and I’m trying to play the ball, he has now gathered sufficient information or courage to lead, but like Abraham Lincoln’s defeat of slavery in the US Republic, it will require statesmanlike unity, rather than the point scoring process that marks NT politics.
    The dismantling of the BDR is recognised by many Territorians as a poor decision, but the Member for Braitling’s comments about alcohol not being a cause of social problems is completely out of step with what has been happening with supply reform in WA, Victoria and New South Wales these past months.
    As a conservative politician, he would be aware that the UK conservative government has introduced a floor price.
    Alex Nelson’s succinct description of the alliance between business, the bureaucracy and government in relation to the Mall shows what happens when politicians refuse to see poor policy decisions as causing social problems.
    President Lincoln achieved great social advance for the US and was assassinated for it, but at least he had vision.
    He is now considered to be the greatest American President.
    The Member for Braitling needs to be a little more on the ball.

  2. Some of Minister Giles’ comments are sensible, but hardly new. Others are just farcical.
    There has been a campaign to get able-bodied people off the dole for a number of years. The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between the many unemployed who are simply unemployable, incapable of performing basic repetitive tasks (they may have been damaged in utero, and/or retarded by the circumstances of their childhood, and/or debilitated by the effects of drugs, inhalants and alcohol in adolescence), and those of sound mind and body who are able to reliably pick grapes or competently pull out weeds and not the seedlings.
    Adam is being a tad disingenuous, or maybe he’s just having an an airhead moment.
    “Enforcing parental responsibility” is an empty slogan, unless it is supported by realistic proposals about how it can be made to happen: extremely attractive in the abstract, but exactly HOW is young Adam planning to enforce it? Does he really know what he is talking about here?
    With imprisonment of non-compliers in “boot camps” perhaps (leaving their kids to be taken into care while the “parents” are doing their time)?
    Fines that will make things more difficult for the kids?
    Putting the parents in stocks to shame them, or maybe publishing their names in media that they don’t use?
    If that doesn’t work, he could try public floggings.
    Public hangings of a few as a persuasive shock tactic?
    Or maybe he imagines that throwing these parents (and their uncared for children) out of their government subsidised housing, cutting off their access to free health care and education will work the magic.
    Come on Adam, enough of the grandstanding. You are smart enough to know that there are no quick or simple solutions to this complex problem.
    Get behind Stronger Futures and other government programs, or suggest detailed ways to improve them. Do that, and then we’ll respect your opinions, but hold the easy talk.

  3. Totally agree with the focus on work as a solution but not sure what Adam wants. Mutual responsibility, greater enforcement of welfare payment freezes, no dole for people who lose a job they are referred to, a different bail system so people go to jail more often so they can learn the benefits of work and not being in jail, whilst being incarcerated more often in larger and more numerous NT jails.
    Boot Camps, tough love and detention on a broader scale can only be used for a specified term and then results shown. Time will tell if Adam’s mantra assists Indigenous people to participate better in society or builds a better NT.
    On another matter the article notes the “proposition that Indigenous people do not need to work because generations ago their land had been colonised”.
    Am I so out of touch with Aboriginal politics that I need someone to clarify where this proposition is stated and by whom and who supports it? As to whether the proposition is pathetic is reliant on its case so any references would be appreciated.

  4. I can’t resist pointing out to Russell Guy that slavery was abolished by Lincoln when there were two American republics engaged in a civil war that killed around 600,000 people. I guess winning that war was a case of “statesmanlike unity”. Contrary to popular myth the “greatest American president” fought that war to preserve the Union not to abolish slavery, that came fairly late in the piece and was not part of the original plan.
    Politicians change their minds, go with the times, compromise when necessary and the best of them try their best.
    That’s all we can expect from fellow citizens who have the courage to have a go.
    At least Adam is talking to us and giving his views so that we can make our own judgements and decide for ourselves what should or shouldn’t be done. I find that pretty refreshing.

  5. Dave Price @ Jan. 22. Thanks, Dave. As I understand it, Lincoln had the choice of abolishing slavery or ending the civil war. He chose the former.
    As you suggest, there is no doubt that Lincoln “comprised where necessary”.
    My point about Adam Giles is that he could have been involved in the welfare / work debate early last year instead of playing politics.
    His position about alcohol in relation to current supply laws not causing social problems is aligned with CLP policy.
    I’ve spoken with Bess about this. Where do you stand on it?


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