Govt spokesman hits out at Opposition over floor price


p2239-Gary-HigginsBy ERWIN CHLANDA
A government spokesman, Gino Luglietti, this morning issued a statement about the Opposition’s changed position on the alcohol floor price, but he has not answered questions about the legality of the measure under the Australian Constitution.
The matter was raised in an Alice Springs News Online report about the wine industry’s position on the Constitution’s Section 92 which says “trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.”
Mail and online liquor purchases from interstate are affected by the floor price which started on October 1 in the NT.
Mr Luglietti two days ago verbally replied “absoultely not” when asked whether the floor price was in violation of the Constitution but has so far not provided, as requested by the News, a written response detailing what his assertion is based on.
Meanwhile Mr Luglietti says: “After 16 months of passionate support [for the floor price], Gary Higgins (pictured) has adopted Adam Giles’ alcohol policy.
“Gary Higgins knows his ‘new’ position will increase crime and anti-social behaviour”.
Mr Luglietti quotes several statements of the Opposition, including its submission to the alcohol policies and legislation review: “Any method that increases price will help to significantly reduce both consumption and the harm related with misuse of alcohol and abuse.”
Mr Luglietti says: “Opposition Leader Gary Higgins and the CLP say they withdrew their support because they only just found out the review will take place at least every three years.
“FACT: This was a recommendation in the Riley Review. FACT: Attorney General, Natasha Fyles, told Parliament in August that the review would take place at least every three years.
“Gary Higgins claims he did not call for a $1.50 floor price. FACT: Gary Higgins ‘While I would have liked to see the Riley $1.50, I can live with $1.30.’ Source: ABC Online, February 28, 2018.
“Gary Higgins now claims he must withdraw support due to a range of issues he has never raised.
“FACT: Gary Higgins has consistently pushed for and supported a floor price for 16 months straight,” says Mr Luglietti.
“FACT: Gary Higgins has adopted Adam Giles’ alcohol policy five days after Adam Giles’ former Chief of Staff, Ron Kelly, became CLP President.”
p2160-Natasha-FylesMeanwhile Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Natasha Fyles (pictured), says  Territorians who feel they are potentially being price gouged by alcohol retailers should notify consumer affairs.
She says a radio talkback caller had suggested his 30 pack of mid strength beers jumped from $35 to $42 due to the floor price. Under the floor price, his product could be sold for $35, she says.
“Another caller said her four pack of wines jumped from $40 to $60 due to the floor price. Under the floor price, her product could be sold for as little as $40.”


  1. There’s a strong element of history repeating here, or at least there’s a major risk of it happening again.
    A previous scheme to deal with the rampant abuse of alcohol was attempted by the NT Government, under then CLP Chief Minister (and Member for Fannie Bay) Marshall Perron, with the introduction in 1991 of the 10-year Living With Alcohol program.
    The scheme was financed with an excise on the price of full-strength beers, wines and spirits.
    It was at this time that light and mid-strength beers were widely introduced for sale as a measure to reduce overall alcohol consumption levels in the NT. In 1992 the Alcohol Policy Unit of the Department of Chief Minister found that average weekly consumption of alcohol in the NT was “about 50% greater than the national average and at least 40% higher than any other state or territory” (Alcohol Fact Sheet, NTG, May 19, 1993).
    The Living With Alcohol program was generally regarded as having a positive impact; although in the mid 1990s there was (yet again) a crisis in Alice Springs over alcohol abuse and attendant crime and anti-social behaviour.
    This was the time when the Peoples Alcohol Action Coalition (later Group) was established by concerned local residents in response to this crisis.
    The Living With Alcohol program fell victim to a High Court case decided in August 1997 (Ha v New South Wales), when – in a narrow result – the High Court ruled that such excises are a tax on sale, production and manufacture of goods prior to consumption, contrary to Section 90 of the Australian Constitution.
    This prompted the Howard Government to introduce the GST to compensate for the loss of revenue to the states and territories resulting from the High Court’s decision.
    Now here we go again? God help us!

  2. Hmmmm: “She says a radio talkback caller had suggested his 30 pack of mid strength beers jumped from $35 to $42 due to the floor price. Under the floor price, his product could be sold for $35, she says.”
    Most of the popular NT mid strength beers are 3.5% (Such as XXXX, Great Northern, Iron Jack to name a few).
    30 x 375mL Cans @ 3.5% = 30 Standard Drinks. 30 x $1.30 floor price = $39.
    Seriously guys – the math isn’t that hard. The product CANNOT be sold at $35!

  3. Good on ya Garry, now your making some sense.
    This floor price idiocy will be Michael Gunner’s Carbon Tax, nothing is more certain.
    Michael went to a great deal of trouble making absolutely certain that Territorians understood that there would be “no floor price on alcohol under their government”.
    They understood the electoral consequences. They have fooled themselves into believing that introducing one on the basis of Justice Riley’s report would somehow absolve them of their fervent promise.
    It most certainly does not and it most certainly won’t protect them from the consequences!
    Territorians are simply fed up with ill conceived academic social experiments obviously completely devoid of real world experience. The average three year old could tell you that they will have no beneficial effect.
    The implementation in fact having the affect of penalising those who work hard, suffer long, doing the right thing by their community, simply to get at a small minority intent on self destruction at any cost.
    This action sends completely the wrong signals to both parties: Hard work and responsibility penalised; sloth, while not rewarded, creating a penalty for everyone else. This has an unhealthy affect on the mental health of the wider community feeding anger and disenchantment, creating resentment, some directed at Government as it should be, but also at problem drinkers, worsening their acceptance by community and their plight along with it.
    The mental Health benefits for the average person of having a relaxing drink or two with their mates are immeasurable, and I’m pretty bloody certain that Territorians aren’t going to give them up!
    Punishing the entire community like a school teacher keeping in the whole class to punish one naughty child is simply unjust and cannot be justified by result!
    Let us re-commit to mandatory rehabilitation while toughening up on secondary supply and the service of alcohol to drunks!
    As for the tiny unelected non representative group who constantly winge about consumption and put forward these ridiculous solutions, why not do both yourselves and more importantly the Territory a favour: Find somewhere else to live.


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