LETTERS: Ministers reject Feds' intrusion into NT liquor policies


Sir – The request from Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin,  to appoint an assessor to review liquor premises is another example of Federal interference in the Territory.
This is completely inappropriate and I am requesting a meeting with Jenny Macklin.
The Country Liberals Government came in with clear policies and an agenda for an improved response to alcohol-related issues in the Territory.
If the Commonwealth Government wants to help us with financial resources to get this achieved, that’s great.
But to tell us to target hotels who are already compliant with liquor licensing regulations and who we have a good working relationship with is nonsense.
Jenny Macklin should note that Alice Springs takeaway liquor licensees have voluntarily opted to lose seven hours of trading this week for the big AFL match – in the name of public safety. Does she want to destroy that accommodating behaviour?
I did not see any difference to anti social behaviour in last decade, the CLP has a carefully planned range of policies for a new approach.  No one has got it right so far, it’s time for a change.
We have pledged $30 million in the Mini Budget for rehabilitation facilities and we are well on the way to achieving that.
As for the Banned Drinker Register – enough said, it did not work, the real statistics show that.
Minister Macklin has given the Government 28 days to respond to a request to appoint an assessor to conduct an assessment of licensed premises in the Northern Territory.
She points out she has the power to do this under the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012.
Peter Chandler
NT Minister for Business
Sir – Opposition leader Delia Lawrie has committed the gravest of sins by misleading the Prime Minister who then misled the nation.
Julia Gillard’s attack on the Northern Territory Government was based on manipulated and misleading data concocted by a desperate Territory Labor Government to justify the failed Banned Drinker Register.
Julia Gillard’s source of information for her  incorrect statement in relation to the effectiveness of the BDR was Delia Lawrie’s media release of 1st August last year.
I am surprised the PM’s staff did not check or confirm these figures. Had they carried out the checks they could have saved themselves, and the Prime Minister, humiliation and embarrassment.
The correct and complete data is now readily available on the NT Government website.
Delia and her office concocted these numbers when Labor knew it was in the death throes as a government.
It was clutching at straws. They knew the BDR was an expensive failure. And they knew there no evidence to show it was working.
The then Labor government, as the figures show, excluded alcohol-related domestic violence from the data.
There was nothing to stop third party sales. There was nothing to stop a person refused service at the bottlo popping around the corner into the public bar and drinking themselves stupid.
Long before this Labor knew the BDR wasn’t working and they were failing to stop rising rates of crime and this is why they stopped the publication of crime statistics.
Scrapping the BDR was the centrepiece of the Country Liberals election campaign and voters had a choice in supporting our position or that of Labor.
We promised to scrap the BDR and we keep our promises.”
David Tollner
NT Minister for Alcohol Rehabilitation and Policy


  1. Under the Responsible Serving of Alcohol criteria, people are NOT able to “pop around the corner into the public bar and drink themselves stupid”, Minister. Publicans and bar staff are charged with the responsibility to deny further “over the counter” sales if a patron is deemed to be intoxicated.
    I absolutely agree that the BDR may not have been perfect and people would find a way around “the rules”, but to remove it without putting something else in place immediately was like removing a drowning persons life jacket and expecting them to swim. If scrapping the BDR was “the centrepiece of the CLP election”, that’s a very poor interpretation of our NT society.
    We are in the era of social media and more immediate commentary, Minister. Many opportunities for the general public to respond swiftly to government decisions … or lack of them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here